Innings with Conor Gillaspie
By Patrick Hyde
Wichita State junior third baseman Conor
Gillaspie started the season with a lot of hype. He has made
first team All-Missouri Valley Conference in each of his first
two seasons, was named the Cape Cod League Most Valuable Player
last summer, and was named to several preseason All-America
teams. Gillaspie responded with aplomb. He leads the Shockers in
batting with a .467 average, in runs (23), triples (5), total
bases, on-base percentage and slugging. And he can play the hot
corner too (.959 fielding percentage).
Gillaspie took the time to sit down with
CollegeBaseballInsider.com and answer questions about his
success, what it’s like playing for legendary coach Gene
Stephenson, and how an Omaha boy ended up playing in Wichita.
First Inning -- You came in as a freshman and
contributed right away and were named a Freshman All-American.
You built on that success and had a good year last year and are
off to a hot start this year. What has been the key to your
Being more confident and focusing more on the
process and the goals instead of just on the results.
Second Inning -- You were named MVP of the
Cape Cod League last summer. What does that do for your
I had confidence before that. It was just a
matter of doing it on a daily basis. I enjoyed my summer in the
Cape but I’m completely focused on this season now.
Third Inning -- What have Coach Stephenson and
his staff helped you with the most during your time at Wichita
They’ve helped me because there is always someone
who wants to work with you. At some programs you don’t get that
kind of attention. [Coach Stephenson and his staff] will talk
to you on and off the field and are always there for you.
Fourth Inning -- You’re an Omaha boy, how did
Wichita State snare you from Creighton, Nebraska and other
schools. Talk about the recruiting process?
No one else recruited me heavily. Creighton
recruited me a little bit and Nebraska didn’t at all. Wichita
State just recruited me the hardest.
Fifth Inning -- The Shockers haven’t made the
College World Series in a while. As you enter Missouri Valley
play, what are the keys to the team’s success in reaching the
postseason and beyond?
Maintaining good team chemistry. We have that
right now more than we did last year and that will carry us
further this year.
Sixth Inning -- The Valley is pretty balanced
conference. What team(s) is the most difficult to play?
All of them are difficult to play because we
always have a target on our back and every team plays their best
against us and wants to beat us.
Seventh Inning -- What is your favorite road
Eighth Inning -- Is there any one pitcher who
you have struggled against? Why?
There isn’t one pitcher on an opposing team that
comes to mind, but I have always struggled against Rob Musgrave
in practice. He’s a lefty who is really good at mixing things
up and can throw any of his pitches on any count.
Ninth Inning -- What did you learn from older
guys like Damon and Derek? Although you’ve always been a big
offensive threat, has it changed now that you’re looked to lead
I learned how to run the bases and play the game
the right way from the older guys. No it hasn’t changed. I try
to go about things the same way.
Extra Inning -- Growing up in Omaha did you
ever attend the College World Series? If so, do you remember any
game in particular?
I attended maybe one game. I usually just
watched on television. I liked watching the games on TV more
than going in person. No single game stands out to me. The
whole event is just great to watch and hopefully we will be
playing there this year.