BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The special report on LSU All-American Aaron Nola picks back up with the letters E and F. They go back to his youth of EATING Italian food and FAMILY, like growing up with his older brother, Austin, a role model he followed from Catholic High to LSU. And, the letter G is for Grip.
"When I was 11 years old, my fingers - my hands were too small - so I had to grip my fastball with three fingers," Nola said while laughing. "And I kind of grew out of that one once I got a little bigger and I started throwing the four-seam with my two fingers. I think my dad taught me the change-up. It's kind of this two-seam circle change-up and I started throwing that for a number of years."
That must have been your out pitch, huh, Nola was asked.
"It was my out pitch. Not too many people threw change-ups in high school. It was kind of the fastball, curve ball," Nola explained.
"I was on deck and I'm like, 'Yes, I get to face Aaron Nola. I can't wait,'" said LSU catcher Tyler Moore. "And I get up there and I would never get a hit…ever. He may not be 7' tall or throwing 100 mph, but everything he does on the mound is special."
Yet, the SEC strikeout king is humble. H is for Humility and he's been that way since high school.
"Aaron Nola hasn't changed at all," said LSU outfielder Chris Sciambra. "He's the same goofy kid that he's been his entire life."
What is it about his personality, Sciambra was asked.
"It's hard to put a finger on, but I guess it's just him not really caring about being famous or being Aaron Nola. He'd rather just be fishing. If you asked him what he would buy with his signing bonus, I bet he wouldn't have any idea right now. He just couldn't care less right now about it," Sciambra added.
"He just wants to be one of the boys, one of the guys, and he does his job," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. "He's probably the least infatuated person with himself that there is. Everybody else is infatuated with him, but he's just Aaron."
"He's just a pretty average guy about everything he does except being on the baseball field," said Sciambra.
However, on the baseball field I is for Intensity.
"When he's on the mound, he's coming after you. That's the one thing that you know about him is he's going to come after you and you better be ready. If you're not ready, then you have no chance," explained Moore.
J is for Jugs Gun. Nola said he hit between 85 and 88 on the radar in high school. He's in the 90s now, even up to 96, but said that's not why he wins.
"They've seen 95-plus mph a lot, so it's second nature to them, so that's when you actually have to start learning how to pitch and that's what Coach Dunn has taught me. It's not always about movement. It's about your arm speed, how the ball comes out your hand, the spin," Nola stated.
K, the strikeout, is next. Have you met the K lady, he was asked.
"I have. Saw her last night actually," Nola said and laughed.
You keep her busy, huh, he was asked.
"I do. Every time I'm on the mound I can hear. I get two strikes and you just hear that voice and it's hard to not hear. It's kind of motivation for me to try to strike the guy out. She holds the K up every single time and walks it down the aisle and puts it up. That's a pretty cool thing.