The jitters of playing in an NCAA Regional. The excitement of a homecoming. And the rare opportunity to pitch in front of family and friends.
For Army junior Gunnar Carroll, those concerns are so last year.
"I thought I did a fair job dealing with all that last year," the Louisa County alum said Thursday. "There were certainly a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. But I was able to stay pretty focused. And it only gets easier from there. So this year will be very task-oriented, I think."
Carroll and his Army teammates are back in Charlottesville for the second time in as many years. For the second straight season, the Black Knights are paired with host Virginia for their NCAA Regional opener.
Carroll comes into the weekend 3-4 on the season, leading Army with four saves in a team-high 19 appearances. Carroll's 14 career saves rank third all-time in Army baseball history.
Carroll made one NCAA appearance for Army a season ago, giving up the game-winning run on three hits in three innings in a 2-1, extra-inning loss to Oklahoma.
He expects that experience to help this weekend.
"It's kind of a rush out here in front of all these people. Big game; tight situation," Carroll said. "You don't really have time to take it all in until it's all over with. But now that I've had time, had a year to digest it, see what was going on, I feel like the game might slow down a little bit. And just getting ready to win."