The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Nico Diaz: Not Winning the Conference Championship “Lit a Spark Under Us”


I’m here with Nico Diaz from CSUSM baseball. Nico just to get started, could you give me a brief timeline of your experience playing baseball, and how you ended up at CSUSM?

Yeah, of course. So, I went to Chaparral High School. My first year out of high school I went to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha WI. I played there for a year, then came back home. I got the opportunity to play here after a couple, maybe more than a couple, phone calls to the head coach at the time. He allowed me to come out and play and I’ve been here since 2019-2020, so I’ve been here for a little while, and it’s pretty awesome to see the growth that the school has had, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

What can you tell me about Coach Jose? How has his coaching helped you improve as a player?

You know, I think Coach Jose did a really good job. Coming in last year, he didn’t really have the core group of recruits and guys that he wanted, but I think he did a really good job at coming in and molding us into a winning program the best way he knew how. He’s able to talk with guys on a professional level, but also as a mentor, and helps us in that aspect. And you know, he’s always there for us, and we know that if we ever need anything he’s got our back.

How are you feeling going into the postseason? Individually? As a team? I know you mentioned team chemistry before the interview and the improvements you’ve seen. What are your thoughts going in, and what do you think is crucial to your team’s success?

Well, it sounds kind of funny, but I think the fact we didn’t get conference champions plays a huge part in this postseason because this team is all about grinding and pushing through adversity. We call San Marcos, as a second name, Adversity University. There’s a lot of things that we have to go through, and most of the time it doesn’t matter, we always come together as a team. I think that us not winning the conference championship kind of lit a spark under us, and it’s going to allow us to make a statement once again. To either win the tournament or go to the regionals and win that and continue to progress through the postseason. Everybody’s in the dugout, everybody’s pulling for one another. The camaraderie we have is off the charts.

We sometimes forget that you guys are also students as well. Could you talk about your experience balancing the student and the athlete parts of you? And what are some tips or tricks that you’ve put in place over the years?

For me personally, I like writing down a plan for the week. Being able to say ‘this day I’m going to do this certain task’ or vice versa. I’ve also tried helping other guys out if they need help with certain classes that we’ve taken or anything like that. It kind of works all the way around, everybody has taken certain classes and maybe some of the younger guys don’t know stuff in those classes, and the older guys can help them out. But for me personally, it’s just writing down a plan for the week and sticking to it.

Last thing, you talked about how you have enjoyed seeing chemistry grow with your team, but is there any teammate that you want to give a shout out to?

There’s a few. Hayden Johns for sure, Jake Adams and Mauricio Guardado. Those guys are always on the front lines in the dugout, always doing what they can to make sure that we’re all good. We have certain charts that we do in the dugout and they’re there to help anytime that there’s a bad inning or we can’t out of an inning. We try to mix things up. Some guys will take other guys’ charts and try to mix up the mojo a little bit. And you know, it’s all superstition, but I think it helps us for sure.

Niko, thanks for taking the time. Good luck to you guys in the postseason.


Niko and the rest of the CSUSM baseball program will be competing in the 2024 CCAA Tournament on May 9 in Pomona before going on to regionals.

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