By James Slattery, '15
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Chris Mendoza (CM), a senior from San Jose, Calif., has had a very solid career as a pitcher for the baseball team. Mendoza had his best season this spring, earning WCC Pitcher of the Week honors in the first week of May. He had the most experience of any of the pitchers on the Broncos' roster.
Mendoza pitched the Broncos to victory in their final game of the year on May 20, picking up a 5-4 victory at LMU. Mendoza (3-2, 3.86) got the win in his final collegiate appearance with 5.0 innings out of the bullpen.
SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) sat down with Mendoza to reflect his Bronco career.
CM: It has been awesome working with the freshmen pitchers. They are all great guys both on and off of the field. I try to do my best to make them feel as comfortable as possible because I remember being a freshman and being really nervous. It was my goal and a team goal to make them feel like a true part of the team right away. I did my best to lead by example and show them the right way to do things rather than tell them.
CM: The new coaching staff has been absolutely amazing. I cannot say enough about every one of them. They have completely rejuvenated my love for the game. They have made the game truly fun to play and have completely devoted themselves to making me a better man as much as a better player. Gabe is the best pitching coach I have ever had. He has so much knowledge about pitching and never gives up on us. He is always working on finding ways to get across to us. He is just like one of us players. Whenever he can, he works out and competes with us and that makes it so much fun to be around him.
CM: Senior day was bittersweet. The job our team did honoring me along with the other seniors was incredible. It was a great moment being able to walk with my family to the home plate area and then giving each player and coach a hug. I had to fight back tears because this is a special group of people and I have had the best year of my life being with them. I will forever remember this team and sharing senior day with them.
SCB: What was your favorite memory in your four years as a Bronco?
CM: It would have to be a tie between my first college win and winning the Texas State tournament last year. My first college win was special because it was my only second start and I threw a complete game. It was a surreal experience because I thought I was not even going to make it past the fifth inning. I remember getting hugs from all the guys and getting texts from a lot of friends and family congratulating me on my first victory. The Texas State tournament was so much fun. The Texas State games were our first games under the new coaching staff in our old school uniforms. I just remember all the fun we had and not caring whether we won or loss. That attitude did happen to help win all of the games!
CM: I will miss the guys on the team and the coaching staff the most. I have made lifelong friends with many of the guys on this team. I struggle to find the words to properly describe the feeling but the guys on this team and coaching staff have made such a dramatic difference in my life. They have helped me through tough times and celebrated with me in good times. I would do anything for any one of them and I think that speaks to how amazing this University and our program are. Any person is lucky to be involved in such a wonderful, loving environment.