By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Alex Yarbrough was named first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Thursday.
The Ole Miss second baseman is confident that he and his teammates will be able to put runs on the board in the College Station Regional this weekend.
Yarbrough’s batting average was above .400 most of the season, reaching into the .420s, before dropping off some near the end of the regular season.
Yarbrough begins NCAA play with the highest average (.389) in the College Station Regional. Second is Texas A&M’s Tyler Naquin, the Aggies’ leadoff hitter, at .384, followed by TCU’s Kevin Cross at .366 and Dayton’s Brian Blasik at .344.
Yarbrough was pleased to learn of the All-America designation but said it’s not something he’s thought much about as the season has rocked along. He’s thought more about how the Rebels can score more.
“It’s just a matter of getting that big hit, just like it for everybody, for every offense, when you get runners in scoring position. You’ve got to get the big hits, string together two or three hits and hopefully get some of those extra-base hits as well. That’s really the key,” he said.
Dayton flying high
The only conference tournament champion in the field is Dayton, so that qualifies the No. 4 seed Flyers as the hottest team in College Station.
Dayton is just 31-28 but finished 17-7 to share the Atlantic 10 regular season title and won three games last week – against St. Joseph’s in 13 innings, then twice against Richmond – to win the tournament title.
The Flyers have won nine of their last 10. The Rebels have had the least recent success, losing six of their last seven.
“I don’t know if you’re better off losing leading up to it, but you do get a fresh start. You feel rejuvenated. We didn’t lost six of our last seven, but we didn’t play very well last week either in a conference that’s not nearly as competitive as the SEC. We’re pretty embarrassed by the way we played last week,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
New digs for A&M
Host Texas A&M is enjoying its first season after major renovations to its facility. For years it was known as Olsen Field. Now it’s Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, 6,100 seats.
The Blue Bell ice cream folks contributed more than $7 million to the project, which focused on suites, club seating, meeting space and interior furnishings.
The Aggies were 30-10 at home this season.
“This is what Blue Bell Park was built for, playing in regionals and super regionals. I expect a big crowd out there. It always has the best fan crowd, the best atmosphere in the nation,” Texas A&M pitcher Michael Wacha said.