Entering his redshirt sophomore season at Gonzaga, Stephen Lund was enjoying a breakout season with the Zags in 2020 before having the year cut short due to Covid-19. Lund (Verona, Wisconsin / Verona HS) was batting .323 (20-for-62) with two home runs, three doubles and 12. RBIs. Lund established himself as an everyday backstop for the perennial West Coast Conference power Zags as he was named the WCC Player of the Week after going 4-for-6 with three doubles and six RBIs in a weekday win over Washington State.

Recently Stephen took some time to answer some questions to be featured in our Rays Alumni Question and Answer session. It’s time to catch up with Stephen Lund.

Was your first season playing at Gonzaga drastically different than what you were expecting heading into Division I baseball?

My first year at school was pretty much what I thought it would be. It was a lot of hard work and long hours put in at the field but I felt like I was very prepared coming in to school. The biggest difference I noticed was the pace of every game and practice. Guys are stronger and quicker than high school and the game really sped up for me when I first got here but I was able to adjust quickly.

What is travel like when you are on a road trip?

We typically leave around 10 or 11 am on Thursday’s for our weekend series. Once we land at wherever we are playing, we usually head straight to the field to have a shortened practice and bp and get our legs under us. On the road we eat every meal as a team. We either have something catered in to the hotel or go out as a big group. During the day before our games we don’t really have any sort of set schedule besides the scouting report 30 minutes before we leave. We go over the opposing pitchers and lineup for the day and how we will attack that game. We usually get home from road trips on Sunday’s anywhere from 9 pm to 2 am depending on where the series is and what thee connecting flights are.

What was it like when you got the news that last season was going to be cancelled due to Covid?

I won’t ever forget the day we got cancelled last season. My roommates and I were heading to morning weights and we had heard rumors about the coronavirus potentially cancelled or postponing our season but we didn’t really believe this was an option. As soon as we got to weights around 8:15, everyone’s phones and watches were buzzing with news on conferences or teams getting postponed. I think every 10 minutes there was another conference or school that cancelled. It was devastating when we got sent home and the season was cancelled. You put in so many hours with that group of guys to just not be able to finish what we started.

What have practices been like with the Covid-19 restrictions/precautions at your school?

We have been having pretty much full practices. All players and coaches are required to wear masks when on the field and around other players but other than that we have not been too limited. We are only allowed 22 guys on the field at once so in some drills we have to split up and make two separate defensive groups but other than that we are a full go.

Outside of baseball practice, what baseball related activities (meetings, lifting, etc.) do you have on a weekly basis?

During the fall we lift 3 days a week and really focus on building a foundation so that we can lift heavy weight once fall ball ends in October. Once the fall ends we usually lift 4 days a week and have conditioning 2 days a week.

Could you give a brief “Day in the Life” breakdown of a normal day for you?

On a day with weights, I typically wake up at 6:20 and get to weights by 6:45 so I can be stretched and ready to go by 7. After weights I come home and make breakfast and get ready for class from 10-1 and then head to the field immediately after. I typically get to the field around 1:20 so I can stretch out and catch off the machine before practice starts at 2:30. Our practice will then run from 2:30-5:30 and then we have field clean up after. Once I get home and make dinner, I usually do homework from 7:30-9:30. This is pretty typical of what most of my days look like.

What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your first season of Division I baseball?

I wish I would have known how to deal with failure better coming in. As people know, playing Division 1 baseball is hard. There are going to be times when the pitcher beats you or you just don’t have it and you can’t take that from game to game or even at bat to at bat. It took me some time my freshman year to really figure this out and I wish that I would have known this sooner so I didn’t go through that learning curve.

What advice do you have for the younger Rays who want to follow in your footsteps and play high-level college baseball?

My one piece of advice to younger Rays players is to always keep working and never get complacent. There is always going to be someone out there who is looking to take your spot and come get your job. You should never be satisfied with where you are at because there is always something to get better at. This applies to every level but most importantly once you find a home to play. Once you commit is when the real work starts. Keep pushing yourself and working hard and leave everything you have on the field or in the gym every time.

What’s your favorite Rays memory?

It’s really hard to choose just one favorite Rays memory. I would have to say my favorite Rays memory was when I rode in the van with 7/8 other guys to Georgia and Nashville when I was 16. My dad helped out driving one of the van’s and it was so fun just spending time with everyone in the van. The van rides and hotel stays are the things I really remember from where I played.