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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat transfer claws his way to top of pack

Junior infielder Andrew Carrillo bats against the the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters on March 27. Photo credit: Ryan Pressey

From Cougar to Wildcat, junior transfer Andrew Carrillo is playing a major role on the Chico State baseball team for the 2015 season.

In his first year as a Wildcat, Carrillo has earned his spot as the starting second baseman and No. 2 hitter in the team’s batting order.

So far he has been a consistent player for the ‘Cats, batting an impressive .341 over the team’s .242 average on the season.

Carrillo tries to keep his mind clear and his thoughts simple when he is up to bat.

“I just try to hit the ball hard,” he said.

Carrillo, who is an Azusa Pacific University transfer, works hard at practice so that during the game everything feels like second nature to him, he said.

The players in the dugout feel comfortable whenever Carrillo is standing over the plate, said Robert Engels, senior pitcher.

“We have a lot of confidence that he is going to get on base one way or another,” Engels said.

Carrillo’s on-base percentage this season is .384.

Chico State baseball head coach Dave Taylor said that Carrillo is a player who takes tough at-bats and makes things happen.

“He gets on base for the middle-of-the-order guys,” Taylor said. “I think he’s done his part.”

Aside from fitting in with the team on the field with his performance, he is also getting along with them like he has been in program since the beginning of his collegiate career.

“I feel like the baseball team is like a family,” Carrillo said. “I felt welcomed from the get-go.”

Carrillo is easy to get along with because he just takes care of business and he does not step on anyone’s toes, Engels said.

Carrillo transferred to Chico State because of the mentality within the baseball team.

“At Chico State, we grind, we play small ball — we do the little things right,” he said. “Azusa was more like we just go out there and play.”

Even though the season is not going as planned for the Wildcats, Taylor said that Carrillo shows up giving his all to the team.

Carrillo already has collegiate summer baseball opportunities lined up because he does not want to take a break after the season is over.

Playing year-round is a crucial aspect of collegiate baseball so players keep their form and work out the kinks in their game before the new season.

Carrillo received a summer contract offer from the West Virginia Miners — a summer collegiate baseball team — and is waiting to see if he will get an offer from the Alaska Goldpanners.

Carrillo is expected to earn the starting second base position again for the 2016 season, Engels said, and be a major contributor to the baseball program’s push for a national title.

Although every year is a new tryout for players to earn a spot in the starting nine, Taylor is excited to have Carrillo back for one more year, he said.

“He’s just that little dirtbag second baseman that you like to have in your lineup and on your team,” Taylor said.

Dylan Wakefield can be reached at [email protected] or @dylan_wakefield on Twitter.

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