Life has been a journey for Virginia Tech’s Nick Owens that has seen him go from NC State, to St. John’s River State College, before finally settling in Blacksburg last year. The 6-foot, 175-pounder made 49 starts at shortstop last season. He was second on the team with a .409 on-base percentage. Heading into his senior season, Owens will continue to command the infield and be a hard out for pitchers.
Q: What movie title best describes your life?
NO: The Pursuit of Happiness. That’s what comes to mind.
Q: Go-to meal or snack before a game?
NO: Some sort of pasta.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in your down time?
NO: Just beat Jack [Owens] in Fortnite mostly.
Q: What’s been your favorite memory over your time at Virginia Tech?
NO: Probably our trips in the airport last year. Just being in the airport with the team last year was a lot of fun.
Q: What’s the most important thing you learned during your time at St. John’s River State College?
NO: For me there, it was more of an overcoming adversity type of thing. Going into NC State and things not working out. Then, going there and kind of figuring out how to compete again and fight back and get my confidence back. Then, coming back to the ACC and playing at Virginia Tech.
Q: What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen in your game from where you were as a freshman to where you are today heading into your senior season?
NO: I think a lot of it comes down to consistency, which is what Coach Szefc preaches a lot, which is who are you every day when you come out here. It’s tougher being a younger guy coming into college. A lot of distractions that are tough to handle sometimes. I think just the maturity process of being more consistent every day.
Q: Shortstop is the leader of the infield. What’s the one thing you want to see improved defensively in your senior season?
NO: For me, obviously consistency can always improve. Just kind of relying on other guys like Jack next to me. He knows a lot about where people need to be playing and stuff like that. Just working with Jack, and just moving people around to get in the right spot at the right time.
Q: You hit .274 last year. What’s been the focus this offseason to increase that average?
NO: Last year I had a broken wrist for half the year, so I think that will improve a lot. But, just focusing and staying on my approach of hitting the fastball. Knowing the situation. Runner on first with one out, I know I don’t need to be hitting a ground ball here. I need to get something elevated because a double play could end the inning. Stuff like that will help.
Q: Coach Szefc described you as one of the biggest leaders on the team behind closed doors. What does that role entail for you?
NO: For me, it’s just letting the guys know that I’m here for them and I need their help just as much as I need the older guys’ help. I learned a lot from Sam Fragale and Tom Stoffel last year. They kind of took me under their wing. Just showing support for each other is huge.
Q: How do you want people to remember Nick Owens when you take off the Virginia Tech jersey for the last time?
NO: I want them to remember me as a good player and also a good person. Someone who helped the team get better. Someone who truly cares about the team and the future of this program.