Feb. 10, 2012

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Nine Innings with Scott Garner

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

Phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @RoadToOmaha


Scott 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 questions.


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 harder.

Fourth Inning – How exciting was it to pitch in a regional game as a freshman?

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 2012 season?

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 consecutive season?

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 Relations Office)