Watch out when junior Brian Carroll gets on base Tuesday night. The UCLA leadoff guy can fly.
Carroll swiped two bases in three tries in Monday’s 3-1 win over Mississippi State, moving into 13th-place nationally with 32 stolen bases on the season.
But here’s the thing: He’s not always in that thievery mode.
“There’s definitely different situations that are better to run,” Carroll said. “Just as far as not leaning, or reading pitchouts, or (certain) counts to run in. It’s why we work on base running every day.”
UCLA’s the only team with more than three stolen bases in the CWS, stealing five in six attempts. For an offense that struggles at times to score, activity on the base paths is an integral part of its attempt to manufacture runs. But you don’t want to waste a potential rally, either.
We’ll see if it plays a factor Tuesday.
If Carroll does end up taking off, this is what he’s thinking about…
“It’s all about the first couple steps, then there’s not much else you can do,” he said. “Getting a good break and the first couple steps.”
One interesting additional note from another veteran base stealer, Louisville’s Adam Engel: Don’t be afraid to get thrown out.
You spend preparation time going over film of a pitcher’s throwing motion, and you take extra glances from the dugout during warmups or when you’re not hitting — but confidence really is the determining factor, Engel said.
“The best base stealers in the world are going to get thrown out, are going to get picked off,” said Engel, the junior who stole 41 bases this year. “Once you overcome that fear, the jumps get better and the more bases you actually steal.”