April 4, 2014
Senior right-hander Alec Crawford is in his second year with the Golden Gophers. The Wilton, Iowa, native was an NJCAA All-American at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) before coming to Minnesota. He has been the Gophers’ first-game starter this season. Entering the weekend series against Michigan, Crawford has won his past three starts.
What were some of your favorite parts of the team’s travels during the early part of the season?
It was fun to just get a team bonding experience and be able to spend a lot of quality time with the guys and get to know everybody on a personal level. The food was very good at the various places. We hit the East Coast, West Coast and down South.
Which place was your favorite?
My favorite was probably California. San Francisco was my favorite spot, going into the city and seeing a lot of the sights there.
Last year an injury kept you out of the rotation early in the season. How nice was it to be in the mix right from the start this year?
It’s nice to be healthy and feel good, have the body cooperate the way you want it. You work hard all fall, all winter to have a good spring and have a good start. It felt really good to be able to do both.
Even on a pitch count in the first game of the year, you still got eight strikeouts in four innings. What was working well for you that day?
The fastball was good. I located that, and threw the curveball over for a strike, too. And it was warm, finally. I think we were all excited to play outside.
You’re the Friday starter, but you have actually pitched on Saturday a several times this season. Does that affect your preparation or routine during the week?
Not really. I go through a routine—bullpen on a certain day, and all that stuff. I actually don’t mind getting pushed back because you get an extra day of rest. The doubleheaders are a little tough, but all in all, it’s good.
With several different catchers this year, what kind of adjustments do you make?
I think I’ve thrown to three different catchers in six starts. It’s always hard to kind of get on the same page with a catcher, but as far as throwing to them, in practice we throw to them quite a bit. And in the fall we threw to all of them. You make certain adjustments here and there, but they’re all great, so it’s not that different.
How did your two years at DMACC, including playing in the JUCO World Series, help you prepare for Division I?
Being able to just pitch and pitch and pitch and get the experience against various levels of competition really helped. Especially in the World Series, there were a lot of great teams. Being fortunate enough to get down there twice, I pitched against the No. 2 and No. 1 team in the nation both years. They had very good hitters up and down those lineups who were drafted and Division I worthy.
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