Brandt Walker Q&A

Stanford is searching for pitching. Tuesday night against San Jose State, a pair each of the Cardinal's top juniors and sophomores came up empty, combining for 17 hits and 11 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. Then freshman RHP Brandt Walker took the hill and threw 2 2/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief. It was a momentous performance for the up-and-down Walker, who spoke with us afterward.

Brandt Walker 2007 appearances
@ CS Fullerton 2/2 3.0 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00
@ Texas 2/16 0.1 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0.00
Kansas 2/25 1.1 2 1 0 0 2 1 0 0.00
Cal 3/3 0.1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
@ Santa Clara 3/6 1.1 3 6 5 5 1 2 0 7.11
@ Arizona State 4/6 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.43
San Jose State 4/24 2.2 1 0 0 0 3 0 1 4.66

It's been an up-and-down season for you.  Why do you think you threw well out there tonight?

"I just haven't been throwing well lately.  I'm just getting back out here, waiting for my opportunity, working hard and looking to pick the team up.  Obviously everybody is struggling, so I'm just trying to turn it around a little bit.  See if I can throw up some zeros and maybe get a win."

What did you have working for you tonight?

"I was just working off my fastball and curveball.  Really going after hitters.  When they're up by that much, they're really free-swinging, so you don't have to necessarily put it exactly where you want it.  Just have the attitude that you can get the guy out, and usually they get themselves out."

You haven't had a lot of chances recently to throw in games.  What have you been working on in practices and JV games that you think helped lead to this result?

"Well, if you look our success and our troubles, a lot of it has been just keeping the ball down.  When we keep the ball down, we have success.  So a lot has been working with Coach [Tom] Kunis on keeping the ball down.  Keeping it down, keeping it down.  Most of the time, if you can throw low strikes, you can get outs."

Is that the area where you think you had particular trouble last month?

"I think so.  A little bit is just a lack of confidence.  You have to go out there, knowing that you can compete with anybody.  Really, that's what the team needs to do - just know that we can go out there and beat anybody on any given day.  We're struggling obviously, so we lose our confidence a little bit.  Then it gets harder when they get a bloop, or a jam shot gets a hit.  You think, 'Here we go again.'  You have to get out of that and say, 'Let's get a double play ball.'"

How does a freshman find confidence amidst a team that is having troubles?

"At a time like this, I think you have to pick your team up as best you can.  Obviously, everybody has to do it.  I just came in the last two innings to try and get some zeros so we could get some runs, but I think everybody needs to pick everybody else up.  I think that's how we'll start winning again."

You had three strikeouts in the eighth inning - struck out the side.  Can you talk about those?  Remember what you did on any of those punch-outs?

"A lot of it is momentum.  If you can get your team back in it as fast as you can, then we can get going - hopefully get some hits.  I wasn't particularly working on anything.  My curveball was better tonight than it has been, so I could work off that.  Like I said, when they're up by a lot, you can usually see them pretty free-swinging.  You can throw it out of the zone, and they'll chase it."

Anything you talked about with Coach Kunis between innings or afterward?

"Not really.  We have gone by the same philosophy all year.  When we execute what we talk about, we usually win, so we just collectively as a staff have to keep going out there and battling.  Obviously you are going to deal with making good pitches and having guys get hits off you that shouldn't be hits, but it's all about trying to pick your fielders up or pick yourself up and get the outs."

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