May 3, 2016

By Tristan Vitale `19

Cole Daily is a freshman infielder on the University of Notre Dame baseball team who comes to the Irish from Springfield, Illinois. As a senior at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Daily batted .451 with two home runs and 45 stolen bases, and was named the second-best shortstop in the state of Illinois by Perfect Game. This season, his career at ND is off to a strong start as he sports a .303 average with five doubles, six RBI, six walks and eight runs scored in 20 games played.

Catching up with Daily in the dugout, we asked him a few questions to get to know him better. The freshman infielder talks baseball, spirit animals and more:

Q: What is your favorite memory from the season so far?
A: My favorite memories have been all of the exciting wins we’ve had. We’ve had a lot of walk-offs where we came back, so it’s the excitement in the way that we’ve won games this season so far.

Q: What is your walk up song?
A: My walk up song is “Double Bubble Trouble” by M.I.A.

Q: If you could trade places with any person for a day, who would it be?
A: I would probably say Derek Jeter, or Matt Vierling with the way he’s been playing.

Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: My spirit animal is probably a leopard. Yeah, I just like leopards.

Q: What is Coach Mik Aoki’s spirit animal?
A: I would say a cheetah?

Q: Do you have any other special talents or hobbies?
A: I like playing golf, fishing and playing basketball.

Q: What is the biggest fish you have ever caught?
A: One time when I was in Mexico I caught a 45-pound grouper. We kept it and ate it for dinner.

Q: Why do you wear the number 6?
A: My dad wore number 6 when he played in high school and college.

Q: What is your favorite part about baseball?
A: Just the camaraderie of the team, and just being with the guys. It’s a team game, but you also have to perform by yourself too.

Q: What players did you idolize growing up?
A: I really liked Jose Reyes … and also Albert Pujols just because I was a big Cardinals fan.

Q: Would you rather make a highlight play in the field or hit a home run?
A: I would say hit a home run, I don’t get too many of those.

Q: What is your favorite pitch to hit?
A: Probably just a fastball down the middle.

Q: Did you naturally bat left-handed and throw right-handed?
A: Yeah I think it was natural, when I first picked up the bat it was in the left hand. I also golf left-handed, but that’s it.

Q: What has the transition been like from high school baseball to college baseball?
A: It hasn’t been too bad, I would just say there’s a lot more time that goes into the game in college.

Q: What has it been like learning from veterans like Lane Richards in the infield?
A: All of the guys in the infield have been awesome. Coming in, I knew I was going to have a lot of guys to learn from, and every day taking ground balls behind those guys has been great because I can pick up little things here and there and get better.

Q: If you could play a sport other than baseball, what would it be?
A: Basketball. I played for a little bit in high school.

Q: Why did you come to Notre Dame?
A: The school speaks for itself, and the baseball was just a plus. I really liked the coaches and the facilities, and then the school, you can’t beat the school.

The Irish have the week off for final exams before welcoming in Atlantic Coast Conference foe Pittsburgh for a critical three-game conference series this weekend at Frank Eck Stadium (7:05 p.m. ET Friday, 4:05 p.m. ET Saturday & 1:05 p.m. ET Sunday).

For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).