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. KVNOâ€™s Brandon McDermott had a chance to catch up with starting Maverick catcher Colby McCord and filed this player profile.
Most national recognition youâ€™d hear would go to players like LSUâ€™s Raph Rhymes or Tennessee Techâ€™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 thatâ€™s included slugging percentage on base percentage, doubles, home runs, runs scored and runs batted in, and heâ€™s batted .369 for the year. McCord kept it simple when asked what has contributed to his success.
â€œYou know really Just trying to stay within myself,â€ McCord said, â€œMy 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 Iâ€™ve seen very few fastballs.â€
And thatâ€™s been the thing; McCord has hit nearly 60 percentage points higher than the second highest batter on the Mavs team. McCord hasnâ€™t always seen pitches heâ€™d like to, but with the offseason work McCord put in, itâ€™s no wonder theyâ€™ve been paying dividends.
â€œYou know Coach Herold did a lot,â€ McCord said, â€œThe four years Iâ€™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.â€œ
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 Marchâ€™s win against Creighton, when UNOâ€™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. Itâ€™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 Heroldâ€™s praise of McCord, a real sense of appreciation.
â€œAbsolutely, Colby is a multi-talented guy,â€ Herold said. â€œHe 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, heâ€™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.â€œ
With the transition to Division I, Herold said McCord is exactly the type of player he has been looking for. Not just the production heâ€™s brought on the diamond, but also his love of the game.
â€œOh yea he is a very offensive guy,â€ Herold said. â€œColby is a baseball-Jones, he is kind of a baseballâ€“aholic. The guy is dedicated to school, he is a great student athlete. But he is dedicated to baseball, he loves baseball there isnâ€™t any question about that. And has made himself very successful.â€
To give more perspective to McCordâ€™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.
â€œActually Colby caught the first 12 as a matter of fact,â€ Herold said. â€œWe didnâ€™tâ€™ 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 80â€™s with a breaking ball when the game ended.â€
About the game, McCord added, â€œI 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. â€œ
Looking ahead, the Mavs have 17 games remaining on the year, after which McCord said heâ€™d like to try playing baseball professionally. McCord might not go as high in the draft as Tennessee Techâ€™s Zach Stephens, but after all he has seen of McCord, Herold hasnâ€™t see pro aspirations as a long shot, by any means.
â€œThose guys are hard to find,â€ Herold said, â€œfirst 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.â€
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. McCordâ€™s baseball intelligence and hustle could be summed up in a short sentence heâ€™s lived by:
â€œIâ€™d like to just go out and play the game hard and everything else will take care of itself,â€ McCord said.