Feb. 13, 2014
Conference USA Preview
Nine Innings with ECU's Drew
By Sean Ryan
not seeing the mound during his freshman year, East Carolina
senior Drew Reynolds (left) has racked up 24 saves over the past
two years in becoming one of the top closers in the country.
make matters worse for Pirates opponents, Reynolds also wields
one of ECU’s best bats, making him one of the top two-way
players in the nation. Primarily used as a designated hitter,
Reynolds hit .322 with 13 doubles, 30 runs and 22 RBI for the
Pirates in 2013.
season, Reynolds is expected to start at second base in addition
to closing games for Billy Godwin’s Pirates, who went 14-10 in
Conference USA and 31-26 last year. He recently took time to
answer some questions from CBI.
First Inning – After not pitching as a freshman, did anything
change that enabled you to become such a force out of the
really, I just spent a lot of time working with our pitching
coach Dan Roszel on understanding my body control and refining
my delivery so that I could develop more consistency.
Second Inning – Was it your plan to be a two-way player at ECU
coming out of high school?
committed as a middle infielder after my junior year of high
school. It wasn't until my senior season of high school that I
feel like I came into my own on the mound, so it became
something that the coaches wanted to flirt with when I got to
ECU. I hadn’t planned on pitching in college, but I was more
than willing to do whatever the coaches thought would give our
team a better chance to win.
Inning – Describe the challenges being a two-way player
presents? Is it tougher to get your hitting/defensive reps or
your pitching reps?
definitely tougher to get my pitching reps. I spend most of my
time working with position players at practice, so I always have
to find a time to sneak down and get my bullpen in while I’m not
hitting or on defense.
Fourth Inning – Playing two ways, do you prepare your arm for
the season any different from any other position player or
significantly different. The main thing I have to be conscious
of is to just be smart, and to not over-do it on certain days.
On days I throw a bullpen, I typically don’t make as many throws
in the infield. On days that aren’t supposed to be heavy
throwing as a pitcher, I may mix in more throws in the infield
instead of all the prep work that goes along with being a
pitcher. Not being able to focus on solely one over the other is
difficult, but my coaches do a very good job in managing my arm
and making sure I am available for the games.
Fifth Inning – If you had to give up pitching or hitting, which
one would you give up? Why?
honestly don't know. I’ve been doing both since I started
playing baseball. Being a position player was my first love, but
having the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen at the
collegiate level for such a great program like ECU has caused me
to develop a genuine love for doing that as well. I would miss
doing either one of them, but just being able to compete and
play the game of baseball, regardless of my role, is more than
enough for me.
Sixth Inning – You're expected to start at second after
primarily DH-ing last year. How does that change your overall
approach and specifically your approach as a pitcher? How do you
conserve your arm?
won't change it much. The main difference will be that I may
have to go warm-up in the bullpen a little earlier in the game
since I won't have the extra half inning to go throw, or I may
make some throws with one of the infielders in between innings.
Luckily I’ve done this many times in my lifetime heading back to
my high school days so I am pretty familiar with it. As for
conserving my arm, I may not take infield/outfield on certain
days to try and limit the amount of throws I make.
Seventh Inning – Describe yourself as a hitter.
to think of myself as a disciplined hitter. I feel like my
knowledge of the game and the mental side of it are my
strengths. I’m a son of a coach and a huge baseball junkie so
during a game I try to pay attention to the pitcher and apply
knowledge I already have to my at-bats in order to try and put
myself in the best possible situation to have success.
Eighth Inning – Describe yourself as a pitcher.
pitcher I feel like the best thing that describes me is that I'm
a competitor. I love being out on the mound with the game on the
line and it being up to me to decide it. I mix my arm slots up
and throw from both overtop and sidearm. As a hitter I know how
difficult it is just focusing on one arm slot so I feel like
mixing mine up is a bit of a wrinkle I can throw at hitters that
can mess their comfort level up. I'm not the most overpowering
closer in the country, but I try and pride myself on being the
Ninth Inning – What do the Pirates have to do to get back to
the Pirates to make it back to the postseason, we just have to
play clean, consistent baseball. We have a ton of ability on
both the staff and in the position player group. It's just a
matter of being consistent and executing at a high level on a
day-to-day and game-to-game basis.
(photos courtesy of ECU Media