No. 26 BYU baseball is ranked sixth in the NCAA national ranking charts for team batting averages for the third consecutive week in a row. They are coming off a 19-hit, 17-run game against Utah Valley University.
The team as a whole has a batting average of .324 and the Cougars feature five players hitting above .350.
BYU batting coach Trent Pratt claims they aren’t doing anything different, than they have in previous seasons. They’re only focusing on individual improvement.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything,” Pratt said. “But we’re trying to develop each player (during) each practice.”
Their development program is certainly working for them because the Cougars are leading the West Coast Conference in nearly every batting statistic.
Pratt said it was all about the players.
“I think we hit really well this year because we have really good players,” Pratt said. “Brennon Lund and Colton Shaver have a lot more confidence, nothing scares them. All the younger guys watch them to see what they’re doing to figure it out. The neatest thing is to watch them learn from each other. One guy will start hitting well after figuring out a pitcher and the rest follow.”
Leading the team in batting average is junior Tanner Chauncey with a .394 clip. He’s followed closely by Brennon Lund and Colton Shaver, with averages of .391 and .381, respectively.
Centerfielder Brennon Lund leads the WCC in hits with 73 this season and on a national scale, Lund ranks in the top 50 in four batting categories. Lund also has a 24-game hitting streak this year and leads the team in stolen bases.
“I feel like a lot of the success from this year comes from being consistent,” Lund said. “Showing up to the field, focusing on every at bat and giving it your best.
Along with a .381 batting average, catcher and first basement Colton Shaver also ranks in the top 50 nationally in four batting categories. Shaver is coming off of an All-American freshman year last season where he participated in the College Baseball Home Run Derby and was named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball Magazine.
Pratt credits Shaver’s hitting ability to his patience and plate vision.
“Shaver doesn’t swing at a lot of balls, he puts himself in good counts. With a guy who has a lot of power like him, you usually see a lot of strike outs, but he doesn’t. He actually gets a lot walks.
Good batting is a result of good pitch reading. BYU’s emphasis during batting practice sometimes means not using a bat.
“We try to teach them not to swing at balls,” Pratt said. “We work with a pitching machine that throws sliders, change ups and fast balls for either a strike or a ball. At first they watch it and tell us if it’s gonna be a ball or a strike and it’s totally random. That helps them realize the balls they should and shouldn’t hit.”
Shaver leads the team in walks with 35, but the Cougars feature three other players with 20+ walks. Shaver and Lund also stand alone in the runs scored category earning 42 and 45 this year.
“Shaver and Lund are very simpler with what they do,” Pratt said. “We try to mimic them with the other guys. After doing it right so many times, the fear leaves and their confidence builds during the game.”
The Cougars are 32-13 on the season and sit one game behind St. Mary’s for the WCC lead. They travel to San Francisco this weekend for a three-game series with the Dons.