Mavericks’ McCord does it all
April 13th, 2012
Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska Omaha baseball team starts a series Friday in Las Vegas against UNLV. UNO then has a double header Saturday before finishing up the series with a game Sunday. KVNO’s Brandon McDermott had a chance to catch up with starting Maverick catcher Colby McCord and filed this player profile.
Most national recognition you’d hear would go to players like LSU’s Raph Rhymes or Tennessee Tech’s Zach Stephens, a sophomore first basemen who has batted .468 and has lead the nation in home runs and on base percentage. Rhymes has played for a leading SEC team which has ranked fifth nationally.
But the University of Nebraska-Omaha has had somewhat of a hidden gem in senior catcher Colby McCord. McCord has lead the Mavericks in several statistical categories that’s included slugging percentage on base percentage, doubles, home runs, runs scored and runs batted in, and he’s batted .369 for the year. McCord kept it simple when asked what has contributed to his success.
“You know really Just trying to stay within myself,” McCord said, “My approach as a hitter, I look, you know first pitch fast ball, and I try to take a good swing on that first pitch if I get that otherwise I take on off speed pitches. Well these last 10-15 games I’ve seen very few fastballs.”
And that’s been the thing; McCord has hit nearly 60 percentage points higher than the second highest batter on the Mavs team. McCord hasn’t always seen pitches he’d like to, but with the offseason work McCord put in, it’s no wonder they’ve been paying dividends.
“You know Coach Herold did a lot,” McCord said, “The four years I’ve been here he has always worked with my hitting quite a bit. I did a lot of work out at the Strike zone and then also with Coach Herold. We did a lot of BP work and Tee work. He really worked with my swing, just trying to stay closed a little bit and eliminate a lot of movement I had.“
The Mavs, who have been 10-22 on the year, have also had nine players who started the year injured and unable to compete. Head Coach Bob Herold said injuries have directly contributed to games like late March’s win against Creighton, when UNO’s seven, eight and nine hitters in the lineup were everyday pitchers.
However, UNO pulled out an impressive 3-2 win. And McCord went 2-for-5 in the win against the Blue Jays. It’s not the only big game he has put up big numbers in. McCord batted 4-for-5 against Washington State, 4-for-4 against Missouri, 3-for-4 against Chicago State, 2-for-4 against Northwestern and 3-for-5 in a win against Iowa. You could hear in Coach Herold’s praise of McCord, a real sense of appreciation.
“Absolutely, Colby is a multi-talented guy,” Herold said. “He can do a lot of things; he is a catcher who can hit from both sides of the plate. He is a team guy, he is a hustler, he’s a guy he draws the team toward him, He is a gamer. All those things you want to see in a guy, he is it.“
With the transition to Division I, Herold said McCord is exactly the type of player he has been looking for. Not just the production he’s brought on the diamond, but also his love of the game.
“Oh yea he is a very offensive guy,” Herold said. “Colby is a baseball-Jones, he is kind of a baseball–aholic. The guy is dedicated to school, he is a great student athlete. But he is dedicated to baseball, he loves baseball there isn’t any question about that. And has made himself very successful.”
To give more perspective to McCord’s impact for the Mavs this season, you would need to look no further than the game on March 15th against LIU Brooklyn, a 19 inning thriller. McCord approached Herold In the 12th inning with the Mavs bullpen depleted in the midst of a road trip that included seven games in eight days. McCord asked about taking the mound for the Mavs.
“Actually Colby caught the first 12 as a matter of fact,” Herold said. “We didn’t’ know how much longer it would go, and Colby asked if he could come in, now he was our closer a couple years ago then he had some elbow problems. He came in and I think he struck out 11, walked one, in seven innings of two hit baseball. He just bulldogged it through there. Shoot I mean he was still upper 80’s with a breaking ball when the game ended.”
About the game, McCord added, “I just tried to throw strikes really, you know, I know I have a good defense behind me so my team will definitely pick me up. “
Looking ahead, the Mavs have 17 games remaining on the year, after which McCord said he’d like to try playing baseball professionally. McCord might not go as high in the draft as Tennessee Tech’s Zach Stephens, but after all he has seen of McCord, Herold hasn’t see pro aspirations as a long shot, by any means.
“Those guys are hard to find,” Herold said, “first of all, a left-handed hitting catcher and the fast that he is a switch hitting catcher, and he has got a really good arm, he has made himself a really good catcher. I think he has got a really credible chance to sign and play for a while.”
McCord said he wanted to finish the year on a high note, and getting to a .500 record as a team has been at the top of his priorities list. McCord’s baseball intelligence and hustle could be summed up in a short sentence he’s lived by:
“I’d like to just go out and play the game hard and everything else will take care of itself,” McCord said.