Amidst the sunny and consistent climate of California, one could easily understand if Brandon chose to stay in that region, but home he came and for him, it's a dream come true. "To play at home in a sense, to play at the College World Series is something special", Brandon Stated. "Last year when we were kind of on the road to Omaha, we were all wondering what it was going to be like and guys asked me, because I have been there (the World Series) every single year (as a fan) since I can remember, but even after being there so many times, it's a hundred times different just standing out there."
Someone so intimate with college baseball's premier series, Brandon has had a keen eye as to who the contenders were and weren't. Not so long ago as he stared at the teams on the field, not even a Nebraska-born kid could imagine Nebraska in Rosenblatt Stadium. "When I went away to Junior College in California, my goal was to go to a University that had a chance to eventually make it to the College World Series, and for Nebraska to be that team, it made it that much better. I didn't think Nebraska could make it there at first, but after seeing what coach Van Horn did his first year, you could just tell that he was instilling a winning attitude on the team."
Throughout most of Eymann's high school career, he was considered one of the best. And likewise through his Junior College career, he again impressed most everyone that got to watch him play. Given that, it was still hard to get noticed, but Eymann states that it was just a matter of taking the right steps. "When I went to Junior College, I didn't look at it like someone was telling me I couldn't play Division 1, I just felt that coming out of the Midwest and being from up North, it's kind of hard to get exposure and plus, I played two sometimes three sports in high school and I needed to play more baseball. Junior College was the best way for me."
With such a tradition of success throughout his career (Papillion La-Vista won 2 titles while he was there), Eymann not only knows what it takes to win, but has gotten very accustomed to doing just that. With the discipline intact to give everything that is needed to succeed, all Eymann required was the right environment. Prior to Van Horn, not many (if any) would of thought that Nebraska would be that type of place, but for Brandon, it's become all that and more. "One of the best things about myself is that I love to win", Brandon stated. "I can't stand losing and that was the thing that (in essence) sold me on Nebraska."
With any success, there is a consistent story. Though the adversities vary and the accomplishments differ, in all stories of achievement, there lies that motivation each person has to do or be the absolute best they can. For each player on the Nebraska baseball team, you will likely find a story of what motivates them to differ from the other, but you can bet that each does have some fire burning deep within regardless of the source. For Eymann, it's about making good on a personal commitment to effort while proving those wrong that said he wouldn't be where he is today. "The one thing I think about before a game is how many people have said to me that I would never be in the position that I am in", Brandon stated. "Like those people that would tell me that I was a decent player, but I would never be in a College World Series, because these people are great athletes and great ball players. I've worked hard to get where I am at and that motivates me because I know I have worked just as hard as the guy across the field from me or on the same side."
Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. Are you superstitious?
"I am superstitious about Everything. I can't put my finger on one thing, because if I step back and look at it, everything I do is superstitious. If we win and we play real well, I will try and do everything exactly the same. I won't step on the baselines either, unless I think the baseball Gods have done something that displeases me and then I will step on them in disgust."
"What's the most outlandish thing you have seen as far as superstition?"
"I don't know that I have seen anything too outlandish, but I think it would be different if we didn't have people that did our laundry."
During his Husker debut last season, Brandon's efforts paid off as he batted over .300, knocked in over 30 RBIs and became one of NU's most versatile players. As huskers.com states, Eymann "proved to be one of Nebraska's best situational hitters". His efforts combined with the rest of the team propelled NU as far as it had ever been and still closer to achieving that ultimate level.
But, what of the levels of success in collegiate baseball? It's not like high school where you have a possible conference crown that could end up being a state title or even junior college where you can win a conference, maybe a division and then play for the big prize. With baseball at this level, there are a variety of ways to gauge your success. You can win the regular season conference title. You can win the conference tournament title. You can go to Regionals and then, Super Regionals after that and after all those levels, you still have the CWS to look forward to.
Which such an array of ways to gauge progress from year to year, where do goals begin and end? "I think we look at it in levels first", Eymann said. "I think that you have to win the conference if you want to win the tournament. And when you win the conference, you are going to host a Regional. That's pretty much the way it is and I think it goes in levels like that. Our ultimate goal is to win the College World Series, but we think that we have to accomplish our primary goals first, which is win the conference, win the tournament, host a Regional and Super Regional and win those and then of course, the ultimate goal."
As Nebraska came ever so close to reaching that goal last season, people got a glimpse throughout the year of just why they made it in the first place. From being fundamentally sound, extremely well coached and exemplifying the "heart" people are used to seeing in teams that go all the way, they also showed (at times) that they were all but unbeatable. Brandon talked about the 13 game winning streak Nebraska had last year and gives his perspective on the effect he think it had on the team. "I think it's easier to focus on each game (when you are winning), because you are not looking ahead", Brandon said. "When we won I think it was 13 in a row last year, it was like we couldn't lose and I think each player looked at it like, who do we have tomorrow? Whoever we had, we looked at it like we had to take care of them and if it was Northwestern State, we looked it like we had to take care of them. I think the coaches do a real good job of not letting you get ahead of yourself."
Speaking of getting ahead of yourself, Baylor is right around the corner and with the UNK game out of the way, it wouldn't appear that we are doing that anymore. To be honest, this interview was done just prior to the UNK game, so Brandon talked about Baylor in the context that it might have been ok to think about Baylor, but UNK was still a team they had to beat. "It can get real easy to look ahead (to Baylor)", Brandon reiterated, "because this is a big weekend in the Big Twelve. We want to get off to a good start, because we know that Baylor playing is pretty well right now, but we have to take care of other business first."
I hear Jeff Leise is a crappy bowler.
"We got after them (Leise and his roommate) a little bit last week. We actually suckered them in. I told them I hadn't bowled for awhile and we let them have it"
Anything you want Jeff to know about his future as a bowler?
"Jeff needs to know that a left-hander has no business in a right-handed league."
Getting back to current day, Nebraska beat UNK 23 to 1. Any questions?
As the conference series is set to begin, Nebraska players and coaches again have to field questions about a slow start. For the third year in a row, Nebraska came out of the gate a bit sluggish, fighting to an early 3-3 start. With 4 consecutive wins since then however, Nebraska appears to be on the right path. "It's getting better", Brandon Stated. "I think that's one of the things this team has done so well is get better week to week. The first weekend, it was like one thing went well and one thing didn't and then the next, our pitching was good and our hitting wasn't. And then this last weekend (against Fresno), we started to put it together, our pitching was real good, but our defense wasn't as good as it had been last week. One of these weeks, we are going to put it all together and we are going to be pretty good by the end of the year."
The end of the year is a ways away, but Nebraska appears to be headed in the right direction. With a trip down to Waco imminent, Nebraska has their chance to prove (once again) that the Big XII belongs to the Big Red. Players like Brandon are a small part of what makes a team good, but a large part of what makes them great. From the motivation to never give up to the resolve for going all the way, Nebraska's success depends on players just like him and those that coach Van Horn has recruited. It's these "Never say die" stories that end up seeming cliche', but it is just those stories that people read about when they find out just how teams got it done. Players like Brandon are special, but they aren't unique. Heck, Nebraska has a whole team full of them.