Vial Earns VA Player of the Week Honors

RICHMOND, Va. – Junior Brooks Vial put himself into the VCU Baseball record books, as his 15 strikeouts on Saturday afternoon helped lift the Rams to a 5-0 week, including a weekend sweep of LaSalle that improved their A-10 record to 9-3. That performance helped earn him VA Lottery Student Athlete of the Week honors.

 

"Yeah we are playing well right now. I'd say that a large part of it has been our approach at the plate. It seems our hitters have simplified themselves and sticking together and getting it done. Perfect example would be the game Sunday…good teams always figure out a way to make it happen."

 

Vial's performance was the one that flourished out of all three from the weekend, but both Sean Thompson and Michael Dailey each had performances that could have sparked them a weekly award as well.

 

"Sean was unbelievable, it was really fun to watch. He was just locating and we thought if he had a good located fastball he was going to get plenty of groundballs to first base…it's fun to watch no-hitters almost happen."

 

Did you know it was going on....

 

"I actually did because I was on the book that day. I really didn't think much of it because the first inning was a long inning, and he had two walks. Then, he just cruised through the next four innings in I think 30 pitches or something. I looked at the book and me and Coach Tut (Josh Tutwiler) looked at each other and we were like "Are we on the same page here?" and we both said "Yeah". Then he got through the sixth inning and we just gave each other a look like [this is going to happen]."

 

So did you eat the same breakfast as him Saturday morning? What's with the 15 strikeouts...

 

"My curveball had been pretty good the past month, I felt really good with it. I also had the best fastball command I've had all year. I threw backwards a lot so I threw a lot of curveballs, but that's my style of pitching."

 

So have you ever come close to throwing a no-hitter...

 

"Not in college…I've thrown no-hitters in high school. I threw three in high school but it was not the same competition [I see now]."

 

Both you and Michael Dailey won weekly awards from the A-10, including you being named a National Player of the Week by d1baseball.com…talk about that.

 

"[Mike] has been an x-factor for us lately. He has gone deep into his starts on Sundays and has really grown into a guy for us on the hill. His award is well deserved and just the beginning of what I think will be a great career here for him."

 

And your award...

 

"It's always humbling to receive an award and at a national level, it's just surreal. It only makes you want to work harder and keep the ball rolling."

 

Getting to Know Brooks: Continue reading for more on VCU's crafty lefty…

 

Now how do you pick the right sing to hit the mound to each game? You are from Louisiana but you have Jay-Z? Elaborate...

 

"Well, it's funny because they didn't put my right song as my walkout. My original song request was the "Run This Town" trap remix, [and I got the original song]. I like trap remixes. I want to make sure that the guys behind me have something getting them ready to play too. You can't have a song that's slow or not upbeat because I don't think people want to hear that right before a game is about to start."

 

Which position player on the team would you put on the mound in a pinch…

 

"You know, Jimmy (Kerrigan) thinks he can pitch. He's got a good arm, but you know I'm probably going Zac Ching. Ching has that slender, more athletic build and he's got a live arm and it's a lot of arm action. I see his live arm across the diamond, and I think he can run the numbers up there."

 

Let's switch it up…a pitcher you would look to for a clutch pinch-hit…

 

"Well what are we looking for?"

 

Just a base hit here, Brooks….

 

"A base hit right now…I mean, I'm confident in myself that I think I can get a base hit just because I'm a competitor. But to be completely honest with you, probably Sean (Thompson). I think Sean would take a really competitive at-bat because he not scared of anybody and he'd get in the box and give you exactly what you expect, to just rip a base hit."

 

On playing Junior College ball with teammate Jonathan Ebersole at Delgado CC….

 

"It's a really funny story because, we are pretty similar pitchers, except I'm left handed and he's right handed. We were like 1 and 1A at our junior college, and Ebbie would always sit there and tell me, "Man, I feel like whoever is going to want you is going to want me, man…we are going to be a package deal."…he would tell me this all year, and I'd be like whatever. But then calls started coming in pairs, and our coach would say, "Vial, Ebersole.. So and So wants to talk with you." Sure enough, VCU came calling….the rest is history."

 

Being from Louisiana, what's the one food you miss you can't get in Virginia…

 

"Seafood. Like crawfish, and just boiled seafood. We would have crawfish boils, crab boils, it's just a massive production and all the family gets together…family get-togethers in the south revolves around food. I would pay unbelievable amounts of money right now just to get a sack of boiled crawfish."

 

Outside of food, what's one aspect of home to you miss the most…

 

"Weather. It's cold up here! Obviously not right now since its 75-80 degrees.  But like going to Rhode Island in April, and it's 40 degrees…. that's just culture shock to me! Like come on, it's like 75 with a slight breeze in Louisiana in April and it was like 40 in Rhode Island. I mean, when it's nice here [in Virginia] it's NICE! It's just, I don't like waking up in the morning and it's 35 or 40 degrees and I have to put sweat pants on. I want to toss on a pair of shorts and t-shirt and just walk outside."

 

Now explain to me this game you play on bus trips. Its called Mafia?…give me some insight…

 

"Yes…I'm actually a newbie to Mafia. I just kind of got into it, but it's just a game of bluffing. It's basically a game of "can you bluff people?". There is a narrator, and he picks people who are in the Mafia and people who are "Townies". Then basically the Mafia tries to pick off the Townies and the Townies have to pick out the Mafia and it turns into one big argument. Then the whole crew votes on who gets voted off The Mafia have to trick the Townies into voting a Townie off, and the Townies have to figure out who's Mafia. You argue for 10 minutes, vote people out, then start again."

 

Best Mafia players on the team...

 

"I'd say Jimmy (Kerrigan)…Jimmy is probably the best Mafia player on the team because he can pick the Mafia out if he's not Mafia. Like he is 100 percent accurate every time. But if he's not Mafia, the Mafia get him out immediately because they know he will pick them out. Sean (Thompson) is pretty good just because Sean will get in your face and yell at you until you admit you are Mafia. He takes a different tactic to it. Brett Hileman is also very good."

 

Who is the best narrator...

 

"Best story teller…Nick Rabat. His stories are pretty funny. Walker (Haymaker) has some pretty good stories, but I'd go with Rabat.

 

Favorite MLB team….

 

"Baltimore Orioles"

 

Favorite color….

 

"Orange" (makes sense, right?)

 

Favorite vacation spot…

 

"Anywhere new. Like road trips."

 

Name on guy on the team who would look best with their own bobble head...

 

"Probably Sam Donko. I think Donko would look pretty funny on a bobble head."

 

Favorite 90's/2000 Nickelodeon show….

 

"Rocket Power."

 

Go-to food at the ballpark...

 

"Going basic…probably the chicken tender basket."

 

One MLB ballpark you could pitch it, it would be...

 

"PNC Park in Pittsburgh…it's my favorite park. It's so cool. The backdrop of the city is awesome, however I don't think I'd be looking at it while I pitch."

 

One MLB park you'd like to visit that you haven't yet...

 

"San Francisco would be pretty cool. I'd like to see the bay."

 

Would you be in a kayak...

 

"I don't know. I don't think they have any current lefties that can put it out there, so I think I'd stay in the park. Unless Barry Bonds made a comeback…"