ATHENS -- After being named Freshman All-American at Baylor, Texas-native Kolby Branch transferred to the SEC where he has proven to be a critical part of Georgia’s revamped baseball team. Branch tied the program’s single season grand slam record earlier this year, with three, contributing to Georgia holding the runner-up spot in the league for home runs, totaling 101. As the home stretch of the season approaches, the transfer discusses how the top 25 team is preparing for the postseason.

Q: Can you walk me through your transfer portal process and how you decided to leave Baylor and come to Georgia?

A: I had a good year last year, and when you get the opportunity to come to the SEC and play for a team like Georgia, then you know, you’re going to take it a million times out of a million. It was a weird process just because you don’t know if you’re making the right decision.

Q: How has it been transitioning from your freshman year at Baylor to your sophomore year here at Georgia?

A: I’m in a great college town and a great place in Georgia. And you know, it’s away from home, but even when I was in Texas or at Baylor I wouldn’t go home a ton. So my parents get to come see me every weekend for the games. But, I got a good group of roommates too and so, they made it really easy on me.

Q: What has it been like to play under head coach Wes Johnson, someone who has experience coaching at the Major League Baseball level?

A: He’s really like a manager and you know, all of the hitters… he’s just pumping us up all the time and telling us how good we are. And every single day, no matter how bad things get or how good things are, it’s always the same. You know, his worst day is your best day, so that’s just kind of how he is all the time.

Q: You already have more RBIs and home runs this season than you had in total last season at Baylor. What did you work on throughout the offseason to come back better than ever?

A: I can’t tell you how many videos of my swing I’ve taken. So, just constantly working through things and things I’ve never even thought about before, you know, we’re always working on those. So it’s always fun to try out new things and let [Coach Coggin] kind of take the reins a little bit. I just kind of go with the flow a little bit, you know, use what I know already and use what he knows.

Q: Georgia is leading the league in home runs and you have contributed to that greatly, as you tied a school record with three grand slams this season. What are some of the things that you guys have honed in on in batting practice to get to this level?

A: In batting practice we’ll have a couple of feel-good rounds of, you know, just get the ball in the air and hit as far as possible and get your swing off. And when you go up to the box, you get your three best swings off every single at bat and just see what happens. And usually with this team, we’ve got a lot of power guys, older guys that can do it. And so it’s easy to, you know, put together a team like that.

Q: You are about a month out from the 2024 SEC baseball tournament. What metrics would you say are most important for the team to focus on in order to go far in this tournament?

A: Getting runners in scoring position and then taking care of business with timely hits and two outs, and you know, one through nine, everybody producing at the same time and getting hot. There’s not really a metric to look at, but as long as the team is playing good defense, having trust in each other and hitting like we can, then we’re going to be in a good spot.

Q: What are you hoping to improve on in the second half of the season individually?

A: Last year, I didn’t finish as strong as I’d like. So one of the things I’ve been looking at is, ‘how can I finish strong?’ You know, the best as possible. That’s just like an individual goal of mine, but I want to finish strong and continue a good season.

Ansley Gavlak is a student in the Sports Media Certificate program at the University of Georgia’s Carmical Sports Media Institute.