Off The Wall With Southeastern Louisiana's Corey Gaconi
Southeastern Louisiana has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years and is the lone team from outside the Power Five conferences to have done so. The Lions are expected to contend for regionals again this season and are off to a solid 4-1 start this spring.
Southeastern will have an opportunity to make a statement this weekend when it welcomes No. 25 Connecticut to town. Runs will likely be at a premium this weekend thanks to both team’s strong pitching staffs, highlighted by UConn junior lefthander Tim Cate, a Preseason All-American. But the talent on the mound goes well beyond Cate. Southeastern has the 13th best team ERA (3.24) in the country since Matt Riser’s first season as head coach in 2014.
With righthanders Josh Green and Corey Gaconi at the front of their rotation, the Lions figure to be tough on the mound again this season. Baseball America caught up with Gaconi, who went 7-5, 3.08 last season, to talk about this weekend’s series.
How did it feel to get back out on the field on Opening Weekend?
“It felt great to be back out there. As the season gets closer and closer, everyone has those countdowns. It was good to see them hit zero. We came out swinging early and our pitching did fine.”
UConn brings in a lot of talent on the mound, but Southeastern has developed a strong pitching tradition of its own. What is it like to be a part of that now?
“It’s an honor to be a part of the pitching staff here. We’ve had a good pitching staff the last few seasons. It starts with the greats who came before us. Those guys paved the way. (Pitching coach Daniel) Latham is going to work with you and get you to be the most you can be.”
What are your goals this season?
“I try to be the best pitcher I can be for this team. As long as I go out there and take care of business and be the best pitcher I can be – I want to get drafted, but it’s not something I focus on. If I do what I’m supposed to do, that’ll take care of itself.”
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Who is the best hitter you have faced in college?
“It was on our team two years ago – Jameson Fisher in intersquads. The guy can hit. There’s not much sneaking a pitch by him. He’s having a pretty good career in pro ball.”
What is your walkup music and why did you choose it?
“’Legendary’ by Wesley Arms. It’s just a song I’m familiar with gets the crowd going and gets you pumped up. It sets the momentum from the get-go.”