This week I sat down with freshman and baseball standout Nolan Spencer. Spencer is the first freshman to lead the team in hitting and at bat .400 since 1990. Spencer also hit a team-high .413 on the season. This week, he was selected for the All-Midwest Conference Team in a vote of league coaches. Spencer has set his goals high for what is to come his next three years at Lawrence.
Arianna Cohen: Where are you from? What made Lawrence stand out to you compared to other schools you might have been looking at?
Nolan Spencer: I’m from Elmhurst, Ill. For me it was the academics mostly. I was looking at a few other schools, like small D-III schools for baseball. I felt like I fit in most at Lawrence.
AC: How did you first get into baseball? What did you like most about it?
NS: Probably my dad. He coached me for about 10 years as a kid growing up. Baseball is a very team-centered sport. One individual can’t change the outcome of a game; it takes the team as a whole. Having good team chemistry is huge.
AC: What were your initial thoughts on being named to the Midwest Conference All-North Division Team as a freshman?
NS: I was happy. I was kind of shocked at first to be honest. For the most part, as a team, we were the sixth-best batting average in Lawrence history. Everyone had a really good year. [Freshman] Andrew Lauber, [sophomore] Travis Weber, [sophomore] Matt Holiday and [sophomore] Zach Rabideau all batted above .300 so to be chosen out of this group was really cool.
AC: According to the Lawrence baseball homepage, you started every game with the exception of five due to injury. Can you describe this injury a little bit?
NS: It was down in Florida. I was stealing second base and I felt a pull in my leg. At first I thought I got hit by a ball, then it turned out I had taken a step after the play and hit the ground. I realized it wasn’t good and it hurt. It ended up being a hamstring injury on my right leg and I really didn’t miss that many games; I am happy for that.
AC: How have your teammates helped you with your first year as a collegiate athlete?
NS: They really supported me. I play with a lot of emotion, and in baseball I’m not really supposed to show that emotion. [Junior] Brandon Klar, [sophomore] Travis Weber and [sophomore] Kyle Deux—the captains for next year—they did a really good job of containing me and making sure I stay focused on what I have to do.
AC: Do you have any pregame rituals?
NS: I do a handshake with [manager] Bryttany Dove and I chew gum going to the first at bat. If I get a hit I chew gum for the rest of the game, and if I don’t get a hit at my first at bat I don’t chew gum for the rest of the game.