A very scary moment happened last Saturday at Blair Field as the UCSB Gauchos were taking on the Long Beach State Dirtbags. The first Dirtbag hitter of the bottom of the fourth inning was Shortstop Devin Lohman, and he struck a 1-1 offering that hit Capito directly between the eyes.
Capito was able to walk off under his own power, but the 1,279 fans in attendance got quite the scare. Nick not only was fine after the incident (minus some bruising and eventual black eyes), but he is actually slated to start on Saturday against UC-Riverside.
I was able to contact Nick and ask him a few questions, as well as obtain photos of the incident courtesy of UCSB Athletics. He shared with us his experience, including a certain friend who was looking out for him, as well as his thoughts on aluminum bats, as well as what he needs to accomplish the rest of this season and going into next.
The College Baseball Blog: Nick, give us a description of what happened from your perspective? From all outside accounts, it was a pretty scary incident to witness.
Nick Capito: I felt like the whole event happened in slow motion. I can remember seeing the ball coming at me, it was one of those sinking line drives. I put my glove up to try and catch it, turned my head, and the ball hit the bill of my cap before it hit me square in between my eyebrows. I have JW written on the side of the bill that the ball tipped, which slowed the ball down just enough. JW stands for James Wernke, he was a really good friend of mine who passed away this last December and I firmly believe he was looking down and protecting me. I was fine afterward, it felt like somebody punched me, I wanted to stay in there and pitch.
Q: Have you ever been injured by a comebacker before?
Q: Did your opinion on metal bats in college baseball change with the incident? Would you like to see a switch to wood bats?
A: I’ve always believed that wood bats should be used. If the pros use them and collegiate players are going to use them at the next level, why do we use these? I’ve never seen the point. I know that metal bats don’t shatter and fly at players like wood does, but there have been plenty of instances such as mine where pitchers in college and high school have been seriously injured on line drives.
Q: You’ve had a pretty successful first year in Division I baseball coming from Santa Ana Junior College, with two straight complete games against San Francisco and Sacramento State. When do you expect to be back on the mound?
A: I’ve been told I can be back out there this weekend. I didn’t have a concussion, nothing was broken, no stitches. Just got a bruised forehead. I really can’t wait to get back out there considering I was throwing well up until getting hit.
Q: You guys host UC Riverside this weekend. What do the Gauchos have to focus on to get a series win and stay above .500 in the Big West the rest of the way?
A: It starts with our pitching. The position players feed off the momentum of our pitchers. Everything else seems to fall into place when our pitchers are on a roll, we start playing better defense and our hitters have more confidence at the plate resulting in more offense.
Q: Heading into your senior season, what parts of your game do you want to build on?
A: I’d like to build on being able to throw more quality strikes and get ahead of hitters. I’ve had success this year when I’ve done that, the hitters seem to get themselves out as well when I’m doing this. But when I’ve done poorly I’ve fallen behind and elevated the ball in the strike zone. It’s as simple as throwing strikes.
Capito is 4-3 on the year with a 5.49 ERA in 9 starts, including 2 straight complete games. Best of luck to him the rest of the season. Special thanks goes out to Matt Hurst, Asst. Director of Athletics Communications, for facilitating the interview.