Standing at 5′ 7″ and weighing only 170 pounds, one baseball player makes up for what he lacks in size with his confidence and productivity at the plate.
Jacob Almendarez, junior outfielder, has gone under the radar this season. The outfielder has been consistent throughout the year — hitting .241 with 83 at-bats this season while batting towards the bottom of the lineup.
Although many might look upon this as a difficult thing to do consistently, Almendarez approaches every at-bat with the same mindset; put the ball in play.
“I’m just trying to put the ball in play and see what happens,” Almendarez said. “I’m not a big power guy, so I wanna keep the ball on the ground and on a line when I go up there. Usually, they pitch away from me, so if I like what I see I can hit it down a line.”
Beyond being a consistent batter on offense, Almendarez has also been holding down the outfield; he had one error on defense this season. And while playing the outfield is challenging, Almendarez is focused on keeping it mistake free.
“I’m trying not to make mistakes out there,” Almendarez said. “Our pitchers have been pitching good, and our job is to do whatever we can to keep the baseball in front of us, which is catching it and making outs.”
The team has been in a slump after a solid start to the new season. After opening the season against the defending Big 12 Champion Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Bobcats have been playing against power-five teams to help to prepare themselves for conference games. Playing against better arms than what the Bobcats are accustomed to is going to benefit them down the line.
“We have been struggling lately as an offense with seeing some of the better arms,” Almendarez said. “But hopefully we will get on the right track for conference play.”
Conference play is underway for the Bobcats, and while still fresh in the season, the team has played universities such as Appalachian State University and Coastal Carolina University. Sitting at a conference record that the team is not proud of, Almendarez knows the slump will break soon.
“We are pressing a little bit,” Almendarez said. “We just need to stay relaxed up there (at the plate) and have that cockiness that we had at the beginning of the season.”
With a lineup that consists mostly of upperclassmen, having some players that can slip under the radar and perform consistently is exactly the formula the Bobcats need to turn the season around.