‘Big Man on Campus’ Part II

Zane Clodfelter

After redshirting last season, starting first baseman Andrew Cope is making an immediate impact for Tracy Archuleta’s Southern Indiana baseball team.

Cope, who is the second-ever recipient of the “Big Man on Campus” title, is hitting .311 through the first 14 games of the season, accumulating 14 hits and 12 runs while drawing nine walks at the plate.

In the Eagles’ most recent outing Sunday at Rockhurst, Cope went two for four with a run batted in, and is currently hitting fifth in the USI lineup.

The Shield: You played for Andy Rice at Harrison and you are from Evansville originally. How nice is it to be playing collegiate baseball in your hometown?

Andrew Cope: It’s a great experience playing in my hometown. I get to see a lot of familiar faces when I’m playing so it’s a great opportunity.

TS: In high school you wore number 7 but you are 33 here at USI. Why the number switch?

AC: I wanted to be 7 but we have a senior that already has that number so hopefully I’m able to get it next year after he graduates.

TS: The Eagles are off to one of their quickest starts in Tracy Archuleta’s tenure with an 11-3 record. What has been clicking for the team?

AC: Our pitching has been down with a lot of injuries but now we have stepped it up and our starters have been really going late in games. Our hitting has been so-so but we have been getting clutch hits to help get us wins.

TS: Recently you have hit a personal hitting streak and, with that, a higher batting average. What can you attribute to the gradual improvement?

AC: I fixed my swing a little bit and I’m finally seeing the ball better. I’m not trying to do much up there – just see the ball and hit the ball.

TS: Was the change mechanical or was it simply a change of mindset when stepping in the batters box?

AC: It was mostly mechanical. I step up to the plate already thinking I’m going to get a hit every time.

TS: Obviously a coach is always going to find things he feels his team needs to improve on. What has coach Archuleta talked about as being a possible target for improvement?

AC: We need to improve on our intensity. Every inning we need to be intense. He is proud of us for battling every game though, whether the game is close or not.

TS: Last year you redshirted. Did that help you in your growth as a baseball player?

AC: My redshirt year made me a lot better, mentally and physically, and it’s been a pretty easy transition.

TS: There is a different workload in collegiate baseball when compared to the high school level. What changes have you made to assist yourself in having a smooth transition here at USI?

AC: Your body gets exhausted but it’s all up in your head and you just have to focus it out and concentrate on the game.


TS: Prior to your arrival at USI, you played on successful teams throughout high school and legion baseball. What did you learn from those experiences that can help you as a collegiate baseball player?

AC: I always have to stay confident no matter what the outcome is, and all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off.