for CBI MEAC preview
Nine Innings with Scott Garner
By Phil Stanton
Garner continues the trend of outstanding pitchers at Bethune-Cookman.
He went 9-2 in 14 starts with two complete games and a 2.48 ERA.
In 83.1 innings, Garner allowed 71 hits, 20 walks and struck out
50. Opponents batted .226 against Garner. A native of Port
Orange, Fla., Garner was named Rookie of the Year and Pitcher of
the Year in the MEAC. Garner was also recognized as a Freshman
All-American. Garner helped the Wildcats to a 36-25 overall mark
and 18-0 in conference play, their second straight undefeated
MEAC season. Bethune-Cookman won the MEAC Tournament and
advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year and
15th time in program history.
Garner recently took time to answer our
First Inning – What did it mean to you to earn
Freshman All-America honors?
To earn Freshman All-America accolades was a
tremendous honor and every player in America works to achieve
this personal goal. Realizing my success also made me aware of
what it takes to be successful. To be successful at this level
you have to have great teammates and great coaches. To even be
considered to be one of the top freshmen in all of Division I is
something of its own. Receiving this honor was one of the
greatest accomplishments in my baseball career so far.
Second Inning – What helped you the most in
your transition from high school to college baseball?
The transition from high school to college is
definitely tough. Being here at Bethune-Cookman, I came in and
felt like I've known my teammates my whole life. Coming in and
having a team full of guys who were extremely competitive and
well-respected, players like Freshman All-Americans Ali Simpson
and Peter O'Brien also made the transition easier.
Third Inning – B-CU was 20-5 at home in 2011.
What made the Wildcats so tough at Jackie Robinson Ballpark?
As it is for a lot of teams, playing at home on
your own turf puts an extra pressure on to "protect your house".
Playing at Jackie Robinson Stadium is an honor in itself with
all of the history. Also, playing in front of our own fans makes
the atmosphere that much better. A lot of times when we travel,
we go to teams that have a great fan base which makes the game
Inning – How exciting was it to pitch in a regional game as a
To be able to pitch in a Regional game is
personally something I grew up wanting to do. Being in a
Regional has its own atmosphere; it's like being in the MLB
playoffs for us. To be the guy considered for the job and
someone your teammates are counting on is exactly why you work
so hard. As a freshman, to be the guy on the mound was one of
the most surreal feelings I have ever had.
Fifth Inning – Where did you pitch this past
summer and how was that experience?
This past summer I played for the Covington
Lumberjacks in the Valley Baseball League under head coach Dan
Scott. Playing against some of the best players in the country
was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about the game
of baseball, which helped improve my pitching extremely well.
Sixth Inning – What are your goals for the
My goals for the 2012 season are simple, to win
the MEAC and get back to an NCAA Regional. Last year we fell
short, and as a whole we've been working extremely hard to get
back there and compete on the road to Omaha.
Seventh Inning – Will your approach on the
mound change at all under new head coach Jason Beverlin?
Coach Beverlin has been nothing but helpful in
the offseason. He took the time to get to know us as pitchers
and what our strengths and weaknesses were. My approach has not
changed much at all. We just worked on enhancing pitches and how
I attack hitters.
Eighth Inning – Do you think it’s possible for
the Wildcats to go undefeated in the MEAC for a third
To go undefeated in any conference is a very
tough feat. We’re going to take this season one game at a time.
But as a team, we are very confident and look to extend our
undefeated record again throughout this season.
Ninth Inning – What does it mean to you to be
able to pitch and go to college close to home?
Being able to pitch close to home was one of the
biggest factors in choosing Bethune-Cookman University. My
family has been nothing but supportive of me and my baseball
career. Not many players get the chance to play Division I
baseball so close to their family. I feel honored to be able to
pitch so close to home.
(photos courtesy of Bethune-Cookman Media