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10 Questions with Baseball Player Jimmy Tanner

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Jimmy Tanner became the all-time hits leader with his fifth-inning single at South Carolina.

Jimmy Tanner became the all-time hits leader with his fifth-inning single at South Carolina.

April 30, 2010

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Senior catcher Jimmy Tanner is one of four players that played during the Spartans final year of D-II play. Tanner, along with teammates Matt Branham, Brian Dempsey and Tyler Oliver were freshman on the 2007 squad that finished 34-25 and 15-15 in the final year as members of the Peach Belt Conference.

Tanner has improved his batting average each season in a Spartan uniform. He batted .270 as a freshman and batted .304 as a sophomore. The last two seasons, Tanner has hit over .350, as he finished with a .354 average a season ago and currently owns an average of .382 in 2010.

Tanner recently became the all-time hits leader and is continuing to increase his total. In the three-game conference series against Campbell (4/16-17), the Fayetteville, Ga., native tallied six hits. In the final game of the series, Tanner belted a three-run home run that tied the record of 241 held by John Caddell (2004-07) and helped lead the Spartans to a series victory over the Camels.

The following Tuesday, Tanner set the record with a single to left field in the fifth inning in the game at South Carolina. Since setting the record, he has recorded six more hits and sits just two hits shy of a career total of 250.

Tanner recently talked with Alex Edwards of upstatespartans.com to talk about his time in Spartanburg as well as his plans for the future.

You recently became the all-time hits leader with your fifth-inning single in the game at South Carolina. Since then you have added six more hits and sit just two hits shy of 250 for your career. How special is it for you to accomplish something that no other player has?
It is definitely a big achievement. I will probably look back on it one day and, at that point, I will realize how big it really was. Right now, my main focus is to finish the season strong and to put the record as far out of reach as I possibly can.

With this being your final season as a Spartan, what are your plans after graduation?
Hopefully I will be playing baseball somewhere. I don't know specifically, but I hope to be suiting up somewhere.

Have you always been a catcher or did you play other positions growing up?
Growing up, I did play other positions. I usually played at first or third and I feel that I did pretty well.

You have played all four seasons under the direction of head coach Matt Fincher, how would you describe his personality and coaching style?
Coach Fincher has a real dry humor. You have to understand his personality to really understand his coaching style. Coming in my freshman year, it was definitely a different experience for me, but over the years I have become accustomed to his personality and coaching style.

What has been your most memorable moment as a student-athlete here at Upstate?
That is a pretty tough question, but I would probably have to go with the win over Tennessee last year. I think it was great for our program to defeat a team from the SEC. I also loved the win, because I was the one that drove in the only run of the game in the top of the ninth inning.

You were a freshman during the team's final year of D-II play, what is the biggest difference between the D-I and D-II levels?
There isn't a huge difference between the two levels in my opinion. I would say that pitching is probably the most noticeable difference. Guys at the D-I level are also a little bit bigger and faster, but other than that, it is a fine line between the two.

Who is your favorite professional baseball player and team? Why?
Albert Pujols is definitely my favorite player, because he is the best hitter in the game right now. As far as my favorite team goes, I definitely have to go with the Atlanta Braves. Growing up outside Atlanta, I have always been a huge fan of the Braves.

What advice would you give to a younger player that desires to play collegiate baseball?
You have to work hard each and every day and you have to realize that nothing is going to come easy. Also, you can't become content with your play, because when you get content or complacent with how you are performing then you will likely begin to get worse.

Are there any other sports that you enjoy watching or playing?
I enjoy watching basketball and picking up a basketball every now and then and shooting around a little bit. I played football when I was growing up, but I don't really pay as much attention to the sport as I used to.

If you could play one game at a major league park, where would you want to play and why?
Yankee Stadium without a doubt. It is always a packed house there and just being able to be playing in the Bronx, it is special. Also, I would love to be able to put on one of those pinstriped uniforms.

 
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