Carpenter Earns VA Lottery Player of the Week Honors

Richmond, Va. - Junior Darian Carpenter hit .556 (five-for-nine) against Dayton this weekend to earn VA Lottery Student Athlete of the Week honors. The Rams took two of three games against the Flyers and improved to 5-1 in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

 

"Last weekend was big. I'm really happy with how the team is playing right now in conference play and overall, our pitching has come along way since the start of the season.  Our offense had been going back and forth for a while, but these past few games we have really turned it around. We have had good, quality at-bats, something we emphasize a lot, so I'm very happy with that aspect of our play."

 

Carpenter had a strong weekend at the plate, collecting five hits, driving in three runs and scoring another as the Rams won their fifth-straight weekend series. The designated hitter was one-for-two in Friday's Game One victory over the Flyers. Carpenter drove in a run and later scored another in VCU's five-run third. He also reached base on three walks in the the game. 

 

In Sunday's series clinching win, Carpenter singled home Cooper Mickelson in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1. The Junior provided some insurance in the fourth, driving in a run with a sac-fly to give VCU a 3-1 lead.

 

"As a hitter, I'm very aggressive. I go up there swinging the bat, trying to hit the ball hard and make the other team's defense make plays. What it really comes down to is my approach. I go up there looking to square balls up and put them in play."

 

Carpenter is second on the team in on-base percentage and is tied for second on the team in walks. He is third on the club in batting average, runs, hits, extra base hits, total bases and slugging percentage. He is also one of VCU's leading run producers. The designated hitter relishes the oportunity to help the ball club at the plate, "It's a great feeling. The team and coaches look at me as an RBI guy and I see myself as one as well. To be able to execute gives you such an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I'm just happy to go up there and be one of the guys that is contributing to the team's success."

 

After taking the weekends series from Dayton, the Rams are 5-1 in conference play. The team is playing well right now, but still has further to go to reach their goal of once again making a deep run into the postseason. "Our record is pretty good. We can obviously do better and will have to in order to reach our goals. Each day, we have to be ready to go out."

 

Get to Know Darian: Continue Reading for more on VCU's DH...

 

Designated Hitting…

"The DH role is definitely different. You have more time to think about your at-bats, which can be bad at points. I have learned how to approach the position and play the role. I go through the same sequences as if I was still playing the field. When I'm on-deck, I approach the pitcher the same way I would normally. I'm definitely starting to get more accustomed to the role. It's enjoyable, relaxing and allows me to focus on my hitting."

 

Young Staff…

"We have a new pitching staff. Our weekend guys are younger this year. We have Sean Thompson, a sophomore, Brooks Vial a junior in the middle and Michael Dailey a freshman holding down Sundays pretty well for us. We have also relied on our younger guys in the bullpen and during our weekday games. They have been impressive. Each time they go out there I can see them getting better and they are competing more and more."

 

Fall Season Prep…

"You hear the term 'grind' often in sports. For us, the offseason is more of a grind than the actual season for most of the guys. We are more relaxed when it comes time to play meaningful games. During the fall season, we are lifting heavy, doing conditioning, which is a triumph in and of itself. I think those are the times when the team really comes together. When you struggle like that and die together pretty much, you pick each other up. That is when bonds are formed. That fall season really pushed us forward this season."

 

Teammate that Surprises You the Most…

"I would not say it is a surprise, but Jimmy Kerrigan is being the guy right now. He has been hitting over .350 the entire season, which is really incredible. He really is a leader. Each inning, each day and each pitch he is ready to go. We look forward to watching and listening to him. He's a mentor for not only our younger guys, but his peers as well."

 

Energy…

"Energy is huge. Baseball is a momentum sport. To maintain that energy from pitch one through 100 is hard. There are a lot of ups and downs in this game. When we are playing our best, we are very positive and we're having fun. Energy comes from having a good time."

 

Grind It Out, Tenacious Team…

"We returned a lot of guys from last season that experienced that big run we went on. Throughout the postseason we were very mellow no matter what was going on and that is something that has carried over. Whether we are up six runs or down six in the first inning, we know that there are still eight innings to go. We stick to our approach. We never feel like we are in a panic mode. You go up to the plate as individuals, but it's a team sport. You have faith in the guy in front of you and on-deck behind you."

 

Sunday's Post Game Clinic…

"It's great to work with kids. They look up to us like we do big leaguers. It's a good feeling, but it's even greater to give back, provide some instruction and wish them luck with their season."

 

Opening Day…

"I'm very excited for Opening Day. I love watching baseball almost as much as I love playing it. I'm a Yankees fan. I'm not sure how they will do this year. They are a pretty solid squad. I saw the Royals won their first game. I can see them making another strong run."

 

For the Love of the Game…

"The love of the sport was definitely developed by my father. He is a very avid baseball fan and got a chance to play a bit of college ball himself. He led the way until my love of the game surpassed his. It has not only helped me as a ballplayer, but our relationship as well. He is at every single game. Always finds the time to come out or call me to see how I'm doing. My father is always there for me."

 

Relaxing Off of the Field…

"I'm a Netflix guy. I love going through a series. I just started Spartacus and can't wait to finish that. Game of Thrones is starting back up soon. I can't wait for that. TV and movies is definitely how I distress and relax."

 

Is Jon Snow Really Dead… 

"No." He states bluntly, "He's definitely going to get revived by the witch lady. I've enjoyed the theories that he will come back as a White Walker. That would be crazy to see that happen, but he's definitely coming back. You cannot kill off Jon Snow. I would be very disappointed. I would probably stop watching for a little bit."

 

Picking Walk-Up Song…

"It's different for every guy and I actually start the process about six months before we have to get it in. I spend a lot of time trying to find that perfect song. Obviously, I went with "My House" by Flo Rida and a dubstep song called "Bap You" by Party Favor. When the beat drops it just get me going."

 

Teammate With Best Walk-Up Music…

 "I would say I enjoy Logan Farrar's a lot. I can't remember the name of it off of the top of my head, but it's a good one and Matt Davis has some good ones too."

 

Goofiest Teammate…

"We have a couple of guys. Goofiest, I would have to say is probably my roommate Nick Rabat. That guy is very goofy. If something comes out of his mouth, your draw will drop. You're just not sure what is happening. A close second is Alex Gransback. Granny has so much energy. When the dugout doesn't have energy he does, so he gets everybody going."

 

Worst Teammate to Room With…

"I've only had two roommates, so I wouldn't know everyone. The worst is probably the guys who snore the most. I have heard some stories and apparently 'ole Michael Dailey snores quite a lot."

 

Playing in Hometown…

"I was born in Richmond and grew up here. I have always known about VCU. I was a fan growing up and went to a lot of games. When I got the offer to come play here as a sophomore in high school, I jumped on it right away. It's great. I'm still around my family and my friends. I can go see them all of the time, so it is definitely the best of both worlds."

 

Favorite Ballpark Food…

"Definitely hot dogs. I love hot dogs. Hot dogs and curly fries."

 

Favorite 90's Nickelodeon Show…

"Drake and Josh. That was great."

 

Batman Vs Superman…

"I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was pretty good. There was not as much dialogue as I would like, but there was a lot of action, which I expected. I enjoyed seeing Batman and Superman do some damage."

 

MLB Banning Tobacco Products in Ballparks…

"I think it is a good idea. Obviously it is a very harmful product and is marketed towards the younger guys who want to emulate their favorite players. I know that it is a step in the right direction. There some guys that have issues with it, but that is their personal opinion. Overall, I think it is a good idea."

 

Favorite Color…

"Blue."

 

Eat Only One Thing For Rest of Life…

"Probably some home-cooked meatloaf. That is my favorite."