Dillon Tate, a junior right-handed pitcher with the Gaucho Baseball program, sat down with UCSB Athletics to discuss his time playing for the USA Collegiate National Team ahead of the squad's international tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands – featuring Japan, Chinese Taipei, and the host country – which begins today.
The CNT is 10-2-2 so far this summer. Personally, Tate has allowed no earned runs in seven appearances over 7 2/3 innings pitched. The All-Big West honoree (12 saves, 1.45 ERA) has struck out five against one walk and has allowed six hits.
Q: You've yet to allow an earned run this summer and your fastball velocity has increased a tick. To what do you attribute your success and enhanced stuff?
A: I attribute my success to just continuing to work hard. Being around the best players in the country makes me strive to do my best and prove that I should play with them.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge playing for the CNT so far?
A: The biggest challenge playing with this team so far has been traveling everyday – living in a new hotel and packing up, playing a game and living in another. It's still fun though because you're playing baseball.
Q: How important is your preparation leading up to a game? What kinds of things do you do?
A: My preparation leading up to games is very important because I'd like to give my teammates and myself the best chance at winning when I take the mound. I work with whatever I have at the hotel in order to prepare for the game.
Q: What is it about your mental game that has struck a chord with you?
A: The aspect of the mental game that struck a chord with me is to just be tougher than the other team. You can't simply just think you're tougher and expect it but it's the preparation and the struggling before the games even start that allow you to be tougher than the opponent.
Q: You were not heavily recruited out of high school, what would you say to those players in high school still trying to prove themselves to recruiters?
A: To the guys still in high school I'd say continue to work. If you want it bad enough you'll do what it takes to achieve your goal.
Q: Your choice to attend UCSB has paid dividends for you, what was it that drew you to this place?
A: The thing that drew me to this campus was the coaching staff giving me an opportunity to play Division I baseball in a good location.
Q: What would you say to players being recruited by the UCSB coaching staff?
A: To the players that are being recruited by our staff I'd say be honored because when I think of our program I think of hustle. Our lineup top-to-bottom is filled with people who hustle and grind. That's what our team is about: we hustle, we grind, we keep our nose down, and get W's.