Rounding the Bases with Kevin Arico
Kevin Arico is in the midst of another big season as the Cavaliers’ closer. A year after recording 11 saves last year, Arico has topped himself with 16 saves this season. He is currently tied for the national lead in saves as he and his Virginia teammates prepare to play host to the NCAA Charlottesville Regional this weekend.
How are you feeling going into the NCAAs?
Arico: Good, we had a nice little run and a big win against Miami at the end of the ACC tournament there and found out yesterday who’s coming to town. Going into the post-season, it’s easy to get excited this time of year. We’re excited to finally get the opportunity to play our post-season at home and play in front of our fans here, so it’s going to be a good time.
What does playing at home mean for you and the rest of the team?
Arico: It’s a great opportunity for us. We’re just glad that we can do it for our fans; they’ve been out there supporting us all year. It seems like every weekend we’re adding more seats and breaking new attendance records. So it’s really great we can do it for our fans. It’s a great opportunity for our program and a good step in the right direction.
You’ve played VCU once already this year and won. Has that affected how you are preparing to see them again on Friday?
Arico: What happened in the regular season, you can’t take too much into the postseason. Every team is another animal come postseason; everyone plays at another level. We’re going to look at what happened, look at the film from that game, but you really can’t think too much into it because every game means so much and everyone plays at a higher level in the postseason.
You’re currently leading the country in saves. How does that feel?
Arico: It’s exciting. It’s a great honor to be up there with some of the nation’s best. But to be honest with you, I really don’t concern myself with it too much. We’ve got one job to do right now and that’s to take care of our regional. I put the team ahead of all of that stuff.
Talk about your strategy, individually or as a team, leading up to the tournament.
Arico: Well, come regional and come postseason play, everybody is extremely excited to get the ball rolling come Friday. We’re going to be at our best, going out there and playing good, fundamental baseball. As far as strategy-wise goes, we’ll look at their pitchers and what we’ve got ahead of us, but you can only take it so far. We’ve got VCU coming on Friday and that’s as far as we’re going to look going into the weekend.
What’s your favorite part about playing in the postseason?
Arico: Postseason baseball is like nothing else. You play the ACC tournament, and come the postseason, this is what we’ve been waiting the whole regular season for. We’ve been fortunate to put ourselves in a good position here to play at home. It all worked out for us. Everyone just plays at another level because there is so much more on the line. Every day you go and you play one game, and the consequences are just that much bigger. It brings out the best in everybody.
Why did you pick UVa?
Arico: Just the mix of, of course the academics, it’s one of the best schools in the nation, and on top of that, how serious the coaches were about baseball when I got here. It was like no other place that I talked to. The winning attitude that they had, and all they kept saying was, “we’re going to get to Omaha in a couple of years.” I believed it, and last year we did it. It was a great decision on my part and the best I’ve ever made.
What do you like to do besides baseball?
Arico: It seems like nothing. The guys and I like to play golf a lot. When we’re away from the field, I’ll be playing golf. I wish I could get out fishing more.
Food: Anything my mother cooks.
Spot on Grounds: The Pav
Baseball Memory: Winning the ACC championship and both dogpiles at the ACC championship and at Ole Miss.
Class: Drama 101
Movie: Finding Nemo
Sports Team: Boston Red Sox
Celebrity: Nolan Ryan