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Follow Friday Q&A with Nik McClaughry

Nov 13, 2020

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This is the 14th installment of the Arizona Baseball 2020 Follow Friday series, in which we highlight each member of the incoming 2020 class of student-athletes looking to make their mark at Hi Corbett Field. Get to know our newest Wildcats with the below Q&A, and when you're done be sure to follow them on social media to stay connected.

This week's feature focuses on incoming sophomore Nik McClaughry, an infielder who most recently played at Sacramento City College.

Previous editions of Follow Friday: Jacob Berry  |  Kyle Casper  |  Chase Davis  |  Riley Cooper  |  Daniel Susac  |  TJ Nichols  |  Austin Smith  |  TJ Curd  |  Ryan Kysar  |  Chase Silseth  |  Jack Grant  |  Mason Millett  | Tanner O'Tremba
 

Q: What made you choose Arizona?
A: I loved the culture from the team, the winning culture and winning tradition they've built. I wanted to be part of a program that's driven to win. Also the coaching staff is really good at developing players, they have a great track record of player development. Those are the two main reasons why I chose Arizona.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most in your first year at Arizona?
A: Probably getting to know my teammates more; I love being a part of a team and there's nothing better than having a bunch of guys that you're willing to go to war with on the field and pulling for them. That, and getting better every day so I can help the team win.

Q: What achievement from your baseball career so far are you most proud of?
A: Being part of such a great program at Sacramento City College. There is great tradition there, and to be able to say that I played there and helped the team in every way that I could is great. There are tons of players that have gone there and made big names of themselves, and I would love to be the next one. 

Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
A: My ability to play defense. I take a lot of pride in playing defense and being the guy on the field that can help other guys perform as well. I love taking ground balls, I love the fact that I can help the pitcher get outs. Playing defense at a high level is something I take very seriously. When I was younger I played soccer and that helped my feet, it helps me put myself in better positions at shortstop or second base. 

Q: Who influenced you to get into baseball?
A: I would have to say my parents. As a young kid my parents really encouraged me to play a lot of sports; I played soccer, basketball, and a bunch of other sports when I was little. For some reason I just began to love baseball more than those other sports.

Q: If you weren't playing baseball, what sport would you most want to play?
A: Probably soccer or basketball. I played soccer in high school and stopped after my sophomore year. My dad played soccer, so that was something that I did with him a lot. In soccer you have to run a lot more than baseball, and I always liked to run around — playing soccer in high school is probably the best running shape I've ever been in. Basketball is something that I played with my friends a lot in high school when we weren't at the baseball fields, it's something that I picked up and really enjoyed.

Q: If you could have one MLB player's skill, what would it be?
A: He's not a current player right now, but Omar Vizquel was a great defender. I'm a Giants fan and when I was growing up he was playing with them at shortstop towards the end of his career. Watching him and his baseball IQ on the field, I would love to have that. He knew where the ball was going before it would happen. I think that would be awesome to have.

Q: If you could face one Major League Baseball player right now, who would it be and why?
A: I'm going to say Madison Bumgarner, since I grew up watching him all the time and his competitiveness on the mound was incredible. He was such a competitor, and I think it would be really fun to try and hit off him. I think I could compete with him — I try not to focus on who is on the mound, but I think it would be a really fun test to see what I could do against him.

Q: What are some of your non-baseball hobbies you enjoy spending free time on?
A: I just enjoy being outside and doing anything active, things like going to the lake and jet skiing. I also used to play ping pong with my brother and my dad a lot. I love to compete, so anything that can provide me that is great.

Q: What does your pregame/gameday routine look like?
A: I like to wake up early, I'm not big on sleeping in. I also like to get to the field pretty early to get ready to play — hit, take some ground balls, and I have some things I like to do stretching wise to get ready for the game.
Quick Hits:
Favorite baseball player: Brandon Crawford
Favorite MLB team: San Francisco Giants
Favorite baseball movie: Moneyball
Favorite gameday snack: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Favorite TV show: Friends
Favorite movie: Free Solo