Around the Bases with Parks Jordan

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Jordan Parks, UNC's starting left fielder and reserve first baseman, has a perfect fielding percentage this season, while hitting .273 average in 43 starts. Inside Carolina caught up with the sophomore this week …

Can you discuss your confidence level at the plate?
"I am seeing the ball well. Here lately I have been working with the coaches on my load, not only on my bottom half but getting my hands back. By doing a better job on that it has allowed me to get around on inside fastballs and on pitches that I was getting jammed on. So, pretty much just my load, my hands and seeing the ball real well has helped me out."

What's your perspective on the psychology of baseball as it pertains to your performance at the plate?
"It is all about being locked in for your at bat. In baseball you have to have a short memory because you are going to fail a lot. It is about being locked in and being aggressive and knowing the situation and having a good approach."

This season you have played in the outfield and at first base. What is the most difficult thing for you in the outfield and at first defensively?
"Just getting my footwork down with the first step as far as the outfield. I feel that I have gotten a lot better in the outfield and just working with Coach Jackson and Coach Fox on my footwork. The first step is the most important and making sure you get that right. As far as first base I am making sure that I do my job over there when I get to play there -- keeping the ball in front and working on side to side agility and just blocking up balls."

How has Chaz Frank helped your adjustment to starting in left field?
"Me and Chaz have a real good partnership out there. We talk a lot and our communication is really good - I feel like the biggest part of our relationship out there in the outfield is the way we communicate."

Now that the team has its academic work behind it, can you discuss the outlook on the remaining part of the regular season heading to the post-season?
"Being out of school and playing is huge. It is the best part of the year by far because we are all doing what we love playing ball and academics can stress you out sometimes. It's hard being a student-athlete so with school being over it is a lot more stress free and we are having a ball coming in here doing what we love."

What was the hardest class you had this semester?
"Geography 228 was pretty rough for me this semester. It was a higher level class about a subject that I did not know a lot about and the professor was pretty tough. It was pretty hard for me."

Do you have your summer plans already?
"Not really, I talked with the coaches about maybe going to play in Baltimore where I played last summer. They did not want me to jump into anything yet because there is a chance that I will be able to go and play in the Cape [Cod League]. I hope that works out."

Can you give your perspective on seeing the seniors Jacob Stallings and Jimmy Messer getting ready to complete their academic and athletic careers with commencement this weekend?
"Jimmy and Jacob are great role models. They come down here every day and do what they are supposed to do. Not only on the field but off the field as well. They both are good students and real good guys to turn to for information. I have turned to them multiple times, especially Jake being a position player since I am around him more. They are both excellent role models."

So far this season all three assistant coaches have been ejected from games, although Coach Fox has managed to avoid being tossed out as of yet. What is your perspective on coaches defending their players leading to an ejection?
"We actually like it. A lot of the times we agree with the coaches, of course. When they go and get in the umpire's face or whatever and get thrown out it pumps us up and gets us going. That is what they are doing. They have our backs. Whenever one of them gets thrown out it pumps us up and makes us feel like we have their back to come back and win the game."

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If you had the opportunity to give a campaign speech for Michael Morin's candidacy for the national Relief Pitcher of the Year awawrd, what would you focus on?
"Just his mentality. He has a killer mentality out there. That is what you have to have. He has no fear and is coming right at you. He knows he is the best out there and with that mentality it just really sets him above everybody else."

How has Colin Moran's return affected the mind set of the offense?
"Colin Moran is obviously a big part of our offense and with him back it takes some stress off of the other guys who might have been pressing to fill his shoes a little bit. Having him back is just huge. He is consistent in there every day."

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