IronBird outfielders T.J. Nichting and Zach Jarrett are very, very far from being strangers. The two of them attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where they were roommates, teammates, and great friends for four years. The Orioles drafted Nichting in the 9th round this year, and Jarrett in round 28. So after four years of living together, they start their professional career in the same place. We sat down with the roommates to hear more.
How did you become roommates originally?
Jarrett: We met at our official visit. I think I DM'd (direct messaged) him on twitter.
Nichting: I don't even think I could have told you who Zach Jarrett was, and then he messaged me on twitter while I was in Biology. I was panicking to get a roommate and I was rushing to reply to him after my class.
Freshman year roommate situations are very hit or miss, what was yours like?
Nichting: The first time we really met was when we moved in, we were in a dorm and made bunk beds.
Jarrett: We really didn't do anything freshman year so we hung out in the dorm a lot. We had to walk to and from class and baseball together everyday. It started to get scary after less than a year of living together we would say the same things all the time.
Nichting: And then we'd catch ourselves and we'd say the exact same thing again.
Jarrett: We were around each other way too much.
After living together for three years in college, what was the best thing about living with each other?
Jarrett: The best thing for me was we can just talk about or do literally anything. We have so many great stories together and it was nice just to always be comfortable.
Nichting: The best? Him and I have always had solid chemistry and we do a lot of stuff together. Whether it's going somewhere or doing something, going out having fun. I can always look at Zach to be the one to be down to go do something here or there.
There have been so many things I have been able to experience because of Zach and his family. His parents have played a huge role in my life through college. His mom is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met.
So what's the worst part about living together?
Jarrett: The only tough thing about living with T.J. is he argues all the time and he kind of pushes the envelope. He likes to see how long I can go without just turning the switch and not talking anymore.
Nichting: Sometimes Zach has his moods.
Jarrett: Like right when I wake up.
Nichting: Yeah, so sometimes I'll mess with him and other days I'll let him be.
What was it like when you were both drafted by the Orioles?
Jarrett: We were joking about it before like, "how great would it be if one of us paired up and played together" and we talked about it a couple of days before the draft. When it happened I was like, "No way. Four years with this kid and now we get to be on the same team, same organization." It was a really cool experience to be able to do that.
Nichting: It wasn't necessarily that I was looking for Zach. We had Brett Netzer (Red Sox) and Colton Laws (Blue Jays) also get drafted. It's nice to have a familiar face around, and it just happened to be the guy I lived with for four years. But when you're coming to a new city, a new place, it's nice to have a familiar face around. You're not the only one that's shell-shocked by all the new people, the new coaches and the pro-ball environment and things like that. It's nice to have someone and we've been through everything together.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.