Baseball: Rollie Nichols to walk-on at Washington

Rollie Nichols will be playing at  the University of Washington next season
Rollie Nichols will be playing at the University of Washington next season

After completing a two-year career at Cerritos College, sophomore outfielder Rollie Nichols will continue his playing career at the University of Washington. The two-time 1st Team All-South Coast Conference selection will be walking on as a member of a Husky team that advanced to the College World Series this year. Nichols believes his versatility and dedication to improving is what the Washington staff liked about him the most.

"The coaches have made it clear that I will have the opportunity to earn some scholarship money for my senior year at UW, which motivates me to work hard and have success during my first year as a Husky," said Nichols, who is spending the summer playing in Alaska. " I am going in to primarily be a right fielder next year however, Head Coach Lindsay Meggs spoke to me during my visit and told me that he likes my versatility and ability to play other positions. I plan on following any plan the coaches have and doing my best to stay sharp at any position that they ask me to play."

In a season where Nichols batted .305, led the team in walks (27) and stolen bases (10), he also shared the team lead with four home runs, along with driving in 28 runs. Nichols also saw time at both center field and at second base after an injury to shortstop Ramon Bramasco foced several players to change positions. He made just one error in 35 fielding changes at second base, while he concluded the season with a .970 fielding percentage and four outfield assists.

Nichols, who made his decision to transfer to the University of Washinton prior to the start of the Falcons season, was enamored by the campus and Seattle during his visit. "I chose the University of Washington because I felt they showed the most interest in me as a player, and when I visited the campus I fell in love. The city of Seattle is amazing and the facilities available to the student-athletes at UW are second to none. Although the amazing facilities and availability of top of the line coaches were very enticing, the main reason I am choosing to go to UW is that they are giving me the best opportunity to earn a starting spot at a top level Division I program.

Spending the summer playing for the Alaska Goldpanners, who are currently 12-4, Nichols recently had a game where he went 5-for-6 with nine RBI and even pitched one inning. Through the first 16 games, he's batting .281 with 14 RBI and 10 walks and is currently on a six-game hitting streak.

"Being in Alaska has been an incredible experience this summer," added Nichols. "Fairbanks is a very small town but the people there love the Goldpanners. We have fans young and old asking us for autographs after the games, people yelling "Go Panners!" to us around the city, and it gives you a sense of what it's like to play on a bigger stage. The competition has been good and I feel it is helping me prepare for my next two years at Washington. I am excited for the rest of this summer, my first year at UW in the fall, and I thank the coaching staff at Cerritos, my teammates and my family for helping me live out my dreams."

Nichols was a huge factor in the Falcons winning the South Coast Conference South Division championship and earning the #1-seed for the Southern California Regional Playoffs. He collected at least one hit in 32 of the team's 44 games and had a four-hit game against Compton College and five three-hit contests.

"Being a Bird at Cerritos and playing under Coach Gaylord were the best two years of my life and I wouldn't trade them for anything," said Nichols. "I matured as a baseball player and a young man after playing for Coach Gaylord and learned that nothing will be handed to me but if I work hard and play the game the right way I can find success. He helped me focus on the positives and not dwell on the negative aspects of the game. Coach Gaylord always reminded me to trust my abilities and have fun when I would get frustrated and found myself trying to do too much."