Feb. 5, 2013
With UNC Wilmington's Mat Batts
By Phil Stanton
Batts (left) is a junior left-hander from Winston-Salem, N.C. He
started his career at Western Carolina in 2010, going 3-1 with
three starts out of 20 appearances. Batts fanned 27 in 24.1
After sitting out the 2011 season following his
transfer to UNCW, Batts went 6-5 this past season in 16 starts
for the Seahawks. He tied for the lead with 90 strikeouts in the
Colonial Athletic Association and was second in the league with
a 3.04 ERA. Batts walked just 20 in 100.2 innings. He registered
a pair of complete games, including going the distance in a 3-2
victory over Delaware in the CAA Tournament. Batts was Third
Team All-CAA as well as a member of the CAA All-Tournament Team.
Batts was selected to the
2013 Preseason All-CAA Team.
1. How difficult was it to sit out the 2011
season after transferring from Western Carolina?
It was extremely difficult having to
sit out that season. It was the first spring since before Little
League that I wasn't able to play. But, I think I really
benefited from being able to be around some of the older
pitchers that year and to see how they went about their
business. It really allowed me to look at the game from a
Were you surprised you were able to go seven innings in each of
your first three starts this past season for the Seahawks?
I wouldn't say surprised. Our coaches have always done a
really good job of steadily building up our pitchers in the
early spring so that we are ready to go come opening day. I
think we were limited to 85 or so pitches for the first couple
of weeks, and usually that is enough to get a solid start out
3. You had a pair of complete games in 2012. Do you have the
mentality that when you take the mound, you want to finish what
Absolutely. I think every guy that takes the ball as a
starter wants to go deep into games and finish as many as
possible. Our defense was so strong last year that I was able to
approach every hitter with the goal of inducing contact and
letting our defense go to work. That really helps keep your
pitch count down over the course of a game.
4. You had 90 strikeouts and only 20 walks in 100.2 innings a
season ago. What is the key for you keeping your walk total low?
Our pitching staff has always stressed first-pitch strikes
and getting ahead of hitters. If you are able to do that more
times than not, the strikeouts will come; but more importantly,
the walks will be kept to a minimum.
5. What do the Seahawks have to do in 2013 to repeat as CAA
champs and return to the NCAA Tournament?
We have always had a strong offense and I don't expect that
to change this season. But I think our real strength this year
will be our pitching staff. We have really gained some depth
this year and I think all of the returning guys have improved
from where they were last year. If we pitch to our ability
throughout the course of the season, I don't see any reason why
we can't repeat and even improve upon what we did last year.
(photos courtesy of UNCW Media