With the 2016 season upon us, former college baseball coach Gary McClure recalls one of what he considers the sport’s best years: 2013.
Q: What was so special about 2013?
Gary McClure: Things just seemed to fall into place for the team I coached, the Austin Peay State University Governors, and for a number of other teams in college baseball. We knew we had a chance to be very good and we were able to beat Michigan State early in the year in a marquee series. They had a very good team with some great arms and outstanding pitching to go along with very physical position players that could really do some things. That outcome did nothing but affirmed even more to our players that they had a chance to be pretty special.
Q: What teams would you say made the biggest impression in 2013?
Gary McClure: The Vanderbilt Commodores, LSU, and Arizona, to name a few. The Vanderbilt Commodores were one of the most consistent teams in the SEC and had a number of impressive sophomores. LSU had a rather exciting victory over Kentucky early in the season with pitcher Ryan Eades boasting 51 strikeouts by the first week of April. The Arizona Wildcats pummeled California for six-straight conference games starting their season off on a high note. The sleeper was Indiana who beat us in the Championship of our Regional and then went on to make it to the College World Series where they also did very well.
Q: Were there any standout players from 2013 that made it into the Big Leagues?
Gary McClure: Carlos Rodon, who was a sophomore at North Carolina State. At the time, many considered Rodon to be the top overall pick for the 2014 MLB draft. He played on the 2013 Team USA and was a first-round draft pick for the Chicago White Sox in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. There are always a pretty fair amount and then you have the guys who all the sudden really make a jump from one year to the next and move into those conversations.