Sam Fragale has been the epitome of a player who has improved every year. Last year, Fragale hit .310 with 15 home runs, 63 RBIs with a .615 slugging percentage. This year, Fragale will be moving from first base back to third base, a position he played as a sophomore. The senior from Pittsburgh will consistently be a big bat in the middle of coach John Szefc’s lineup.
Q: Go-to meal or snack before a game?
SF: I feel like I don’t really have a meal per se. Usually I’ll hit the [Nutrition] Oasis and get a smoothie out of there. It’s so convenient.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
SF: Steve Carell. I’m a huge Office fan. He’s my favorite actor of all time. By far, Steve Carell.
Q: Best piece of baseball advice you heard from a coach growing up?
SF: I’ve had a lot of good coaches in the past. Probably “make it count.” That was a big thing when I was growing up throughout high school. Just kind of taking advantage of every moment and living in the moment. That was something that resonated with me throughout my baseball career.
Q: Do you have a ritual or superstition when you’re on the field?
SF: I’m not real superstitious. Routine wise, when I’m walking to the box I’ll always do the same walk up kind of slow with my bat in my left hand. I’ll get in the box and draw a line with my right foot. Step out, take a sign. Every time I’m adjusting my batting gloves after a pitch. Definitely at bat I fall into the same routine. I’m a creature of habit.
Q: It’s a 2-0 count and you know the pitcher is throwing you a fastball. Where do you want it in the zone?
Q: What is your favorite memory from playing the previous three years?
SF: Just all the guys that I’ve gotten to play with. The friendships are awesome. Game wise, it would have to be sweeping UVA when they were No. 1. Then, taking two out of three from Florida State when they were No. 1. We beat them like 17-0 and we came back the day before down eight. That was crazy after a rain delay. Those were two of the best series by far.
Q: What has it been like working with hitting coach Kurt Elbin so far this year?
SF: He’s been awesome. He’s super into what he does. He’s super positive, too, which is great. He has a lot to say and a lot to teach us. He really takes the time individually with each guy to tend to their needs and what they need to work on.
Q: You’ve progressed every year, batting .190 as a freshman, .267 as a sophomore and .310 as a junior. What has been the key to your approach at the plate to be able to see that improvement every year?
SF: I’ve said this in the past, but just slowing the game down and getting the reps. The more you’re around the game the easier it is to control certain things. I started to realize that I should control what I can control and leave the outside environments and distractions alone. That’s helped me the most. Trusting myself and the skill and hard work we all have on the team. It’s gotten us to where we are, so if you don’t trust that then you’re only going to hurt yourself.
Q: Coach Szefc has talked about you as one of the main vocal leaders as a senior. What does that entail for you and how do you take pleasure in being responsible in that role?
SF: I’ve always kind of been a vocal guy just throughout high school and stuff and playing. It means a lot that he thinks of me in that way. It doesn’t really change my thought, and it’s not like I focus on that. I just never really shut up. That’s just kind of the person I am. I’m just constantly talking and I get uncomfortable when I don’t talk on the field. Especially as infielders, when you’re talking and having normal conversation it keeps everyone relaxed. That’s a huge part of baseball, playing relaxed and playing loose.
Q: How do you want people to remember Sam Fragale when you take off the Virginia Tech jersey for the last time?
SF: I haven’t even really thought about that yet. It’s just setting in that it’s my last year. Hopefully as just a really good teammate and just a fun guy to watch and be around, and a hard worker. That’s what matters the most, how you treat others and stuff like that. Hopefully as a good person and a good teammate because the relationships you make are the main thing.