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February 14, 2013

Roberts discusses season at hand

Corey Roberts is a redshirt junior right-handed pitcher for the Charlotte 49ers. In 2010 and 2011 Roberts had successful seasons, with respectable ERA's of 3.48 and 3.23, while also averaging over 70 strikeouts and starting in 12 games each of the two.

After missing a large part of the 2012 season with a hand injury, he looks to be healthy and is ready to return the mound and make an impact.

With the first series of the season only a day away, he sat down with NinerReport to talk about the impact of his hand injury, expectations of the year and his thoughts on the upcoming series with Delaware State.

NinerReport: With the first series almost here, how are you feeling about it?

Corey Roberts: Pretty good. I've never played Delaware State but they won 41 games last year. We are ready to come in, pitch good. Maybe blow them out of the water.

<NR: Do you have any personal expectations for yourself this year, maybe for the team as well?

Roberts: For the team obviously, win the conference tournament. Going to a regional and winning the regional. Maybe making the next step and going the college World Series. Obviously a better season than last year. Personally, since I didn't have much help for the team last year, just doing anything they need me to do. Being better than expected.

NR: After battling injuries last year, how are you feeling coming out of Fall practice?

Roberts: Pretty good. You know, conditioning and lifting has been better with the new strength coach. We also get to use the football facility, which is sweet. A lot has changed and everybody is ready for the season. I feel alright coming into the spring. I'm just ready to fill in where they need me. I want to really show some veteran experience in there as well.

NR: After having successful seasons your first two years with the team, how was it last year dealing with injuries?

Roberts: It sucked. When it happened, it hurt like crazy. It didn't stop hurting for two or three weeks. It sucked sitting in the stands, watching us struggle as a team last year. It just puts a fire in your belly to just come out this year and make something happen. Especially after last season, all you can do is go up.

NR: Is there any specific pitch you've been working on more than others?

Roberts: After the hand injury, I lost feeling in the middle finger and strength in my pointer finger. So the curve more than anything. It's really a necessity to have those two fingers working to have the curve working. The fastball and change-up look good, but I've been working on the curve.

NR: What do you consider to be your "go to" pitch?

Roberts: Probably change-up. Curveball hasn't been there all the time. Change-up has been consistently working for me. That's probably my out pitch. It's the pitch I throw when I know I'm going to get that person out. Not exactly strikeouts, cause they're basically mistakes but a grounder to get guys out.

2013 Schedule

NR: As a pitcher, you spend a lot of your time with Coach Hall, how do you feel about Coach Hall?

Roberts: He's a great recruiter. He's a really smart guy, he knows what he's talking about; especially from a pitching standpoint. He works a lot with younger guys and even with older guys. All you have to do is listen to him. I'm more of a visual learning but he knows how to show what I'm doing wrong, as well as telling me.

NR: What are you most excited about this year?

Roberts: Strength of schedule. We play Coastal Carolina, Virginia Tech and Kent State, they went to the College World Series. Delaware State won the 41 games; Carolina, N.C. State. We play good teams. Another thing is getting back out on the field. The conference tournament being here. We do want to win the tough games though. Last year we didn't have a great season; but we lost to N.C. State by two runs. We've beat Carolina, they've beat us. But each game has been close.


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