Rounding the Bases with Tyler Wilson
Tyler Wilson has recorded a standout career while in a Virginia uniform, boasting the third-most wins in program history (22). This weekend, he will be honored along with five teammates and two team managers in Senior Day ceremonies. He took a quick moment recently to talk about the Cavaliers’ great season, his Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honor, as well as much more.
What are your feelings for this team as you head down the home stretch this season?
Wilson: I am excited. I think the team has done a great job so far with showing up to the field everyday and being ready to play. I think that has been a key to our success because everyone has put in the time and is confident in both themselves and the team.
What is different about this team as compared to your first three years, all of which were also very successful on the diamond?
Wilson: As we have always said, we have great camaraderie. I would say that this year we believe we can do it. We have established a great rhythm and everyone goes out there and plays aggressive day in and day out. But at the same time, each player knows that if he slips up there are eight other guys in the lineup who will pick them up.
If you could describe this team in one word, what would it be?
What were your feelings in coming back for a fourth year after getting drafted last year?
Wilson: I was just excited. I am in love with this school and was not ready to leave. It has been my dream to play professional baseball, but UVa, aside from baseball, is my second love. I have loved every minute of my experience here and my best friends are on this team with me. I have the utmost respect for our coaches and the University as a whole. I was not ready to part ways with it yet.
Did last year’s loss to Oklahoma play any role in wanting to come back for your fourth year?
Wilson: I knew that this team would have the chance to go to Omaha and after watching Oklahoma dog pile on our field last year, it left a sour taste in my mouth. I know that this team has what it takes to break that barrier and be elite and to keep on going. I wanted one more shot at Omaha.
What did you want to improve on this year?
Wilson: Moving into the starting rotation was an adjustment and I knew that I was going to need to work on my stamina. I also needed to establish fastball command and develop a third and fourth pitch to keep the guys off me the second and third times through the lineup.
You lived with Jarrett Parker and Phil Gosselin last year. Have you been able to keep up with the guys that made the decision to turn pro last year?
Wilson: I have talked to a ton of the guys and it sounds like they are having a blast. They are living their dreams. Sure, some of them look back and follow us and miss college ball in a way. But they are all very reassured by their decision and know that they are living a dream come true. They all are also very excited that this team is playing so well.
How have you had to step up as a senior leader?
Wilson: We have a lot of young guys, but that was the same way with our 2009 team that went to Omaha. We have some guys that have had to really step up in the lineup this year and they have done that remarkably well. But all I have tried to do, as a leader, is to let these guys know that we can do this. It is the same with all the guys that were on the 2009 team; we have tried to reinforce the fact that we can do it.
What does it mean to you to be named a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award?
Wilson: It is a huge honor. I remember when we first started the paperwork for it, I told myself not to have any expectations because there are so many guys out there that have amazing credentials. There are guys that are changing their community and have such an impact off the field. To be nominated with guys of that caliber is very humbling and I feel very blessed to have been named a finalist.
What degree will you be graduating with next weekend?
Wilson: I majored in Biology and I also completed my pre-med requirements. When my baseball career is over I really want to be an orthopedic surgeon.
Everyone who is around Virginia Baseball knows that your family is a big supporter of the team and is in attendance at just about every game. How have you been able to share all these special moments on the field with them?
Wilson: I cannot even begin to explain how much it has meant to have them at every game. My family has been there every step of the way with unwavering support through the good times and the bad. I owe so much to them and the way they have raised me. Having them in the stands is a lot of the reason why I came to UVa in the first place and also a big reason why I came back this year.
Your dad played professional baseball. What has it been like growing up with your dad as your coach?
Wilson: My dad never pushed me to do anything. Baseball became my love not because it was his dream but because it became my dream. Knowing that my dad played professional baseball maybe exposed me to the game a little earlier than most guys. But he has been my coach since day one. He is my hero and I would love to follow in his footsteps and have the opportunity to play pro ball and start a family exactly like he has done.
If you could describe your experience as a Cavalier in one word, what would it be?