Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Gedman excelling at the plate this season

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

In the midst of a season that has seen its share of ups and downs, at least one aspect of the Massachusetts baseball team has been able to stay consistent through them all.

Senior third baseman Matt Gedman, whose batting average currently stands at .450, just extended his career-long hitting streak to 17 games in a 1-0 loss to Harvard in the first round of the Beanpot.

While being able to maintain a streak like that is impressive, Gedman hasn’t only been producing during the streak, but the entire season. Perhaps one of Gedman’s best games this season came over a month ago against Indiana, before the streak even started. Gedman went 5-for-6 in that game with three RBIs, which matched his career high at the plate. Gedman would match it again with five hits and three RBIs in a blowout win over Hartford at the end of March.

Gedman’s batting average is good enough for fourth in the nation, sitting 38 points behind the overall leader, Memphis’ Chad Zurcher, who is hitting .488. The other two hitters just ahead of Gedman include Tanner Waite of New Mexico State at .459 and Utah’s C.J. Cron at .478.

This sort of success at the plate, UMass coach Mike Stone says, doesn’t come without believing in one’s ability to hit.

“He just has confidence,” Stone said.

“I don’t think he hopes to get a hit,” he added.

Of course, if a player is able to perform at that particular level, the belief has the potential to branch out to the rest of the team.

Stone added that, because Gedman has been so productive throughout the season, teammates have developed their own confidence in him as well.

The teammate’s role in this scenario does not end there, however. Stone said that while Gedman does have to get up to the plate and hit the ball on his own, he also needs good hitters around him to help ensure he gets good pitches to hit.

Three of these hitters include Peter Copa, Rich Graef and Tom Conley. Copa, the team’s leader in home runs with eight and RBIs with 30, has a batting average of .361. Graef’s batting average sits at .320 and Conley’s at .292. As a team, UMass is hitting .291.

That being said, what may be the most important factor in Gedman’s success at the plate is his approach to hitting. Having hand-eye coordination is essential for every hitter at any level. Stone said that Gedman’s is “very good” and that his plate discipline is also a big part of his approach.

“Rarely would he swing at a bad pitch,” Stone said.

While usually selective, Stone said if he does make a mistake, Gedman does a good job at regrouping and focusing on the next pitch. Stone added that even when off-balance, Gedman can find a way to get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

Gedman will try to try to extend his hitting streak come Friday, when the Minutemen host Atlantic 10 opponent Xavier (18-18, 3-6 A-10) at 1 p.m.

The Musketeers’ team ERA is 5.01 and their opponent’s batting average stands at .288, which makes for a pretty even matchup offensively for the Minutemen.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].

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