Q&A with USC baseball's Kyle Martin

February 24, 2012 

USC's Kyle Martin and VMI's Drew Bryan get tangled after Bryan got Martin out at second base in the third inning at Carolina Stadium.

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com

South Carolina freshman Kyle Martin (No. 33) played a game at first base and another at designated hitter in South Carolina’s opening weekend wins over VMI. Martin went 4-for-8 with a double, RBI and two runs scored.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from Wade Hampton High in Greenville is hoping to carve a niche this year as a designated hitter and junior Christian Walker’s backup at first base.

What has Christian Walker taught you?

Everything. He’s a strong leader on this team. He’s helped me progress, loosen up and be a strong player and person. He’s helped me at first base and with hitting a little bit. He’s taught me a few things.

How do you think you did last weekend vs. VMI?

I didn’t do too bad, but I still need work. I still have to strive to better of course; 4-for-8 wasn’t bad. … I didn’t know how much I would play. I am grateful and appreciative of what I got. Coming into it, I knew that it would be a lot of work to get playing time behind [Walker]. I hope to work harder and get better and hopefully stay in the same position I’ve been in.

How rewarding is it that Ray Tanner is giving you this early playing time?

It is awesome, knowing that I am in his head and that he’s willing to put me out there. It is a good feeling. Just getting playing time is awesome in itself. Doing well and helping out the team is much better.

You did a little bit of everything in high school. How has it been to focus on first base?

I actually love it, not having to worry about pitching as much. It takes a little pressure off and lets me relax a little more and just work on hitting and first base

What kind of hitter are you – a power hitter?

I think Tanner expects me to be a power hitter and that’s what I am working for. High school, it was singles, doubles and home runs occasionally. I do have to work to be a little stronger of a hitter, build up some power and build up the mentality with that.

Are you the Gamecocks’ first baseman of the future?

I can’t say I will be, but I strive to be every day. I’m going to work hard and hopefully get my chance at that.

Compiled by Dwayne McLemore

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