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Monday, February 28, 2011“Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Hall of Famer Yogi Berra
While the math doesn’t figure up in Berra’s observation the words hitting and science are often spoken in the same sentence.
Lipscomb assistant coach Chris Collins has been working with Ricky Coleman on his hitting with the primary emphasis being on the mental aspects.
“For six months now, going back to the start of fall practice, he has been working on specific things such as trying to make adjustments to his swings and in the way he is approaching at bats.
“We have worked a lot with pitch recognition, understanding where he is hitting in the order, what type of hitter he truly is and how pitchers are going to attack him.”
There are many variables to look at when it comes to making changes, especially on the mental side such as who is hitting behind him, who is on base and what the other team did to him in his last at bat.
“Those things seem kind of advanced for hitting,” Collins said. “But in his progression as a baseball player he is now an everyday player and those are things he has got to get a good grasp on in order for him to become the next level of player.
“Ricky doesn’t lack any physical tools to be an all-conference or a draftable player. He has to work on his baseball I.Q. and the things that go into making him a smarter baseball player. We want to make sure he is not getting himself out.”
Coleman heads into Tuesday afternoon’s game with Middle Tennessee attempting to build on his .310 batting average and a .552 slugging percentage. Game time is 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field in Murfreesboro.
Left-hander Chris Nunn, 0-0, 4.50 earned run average; will be making his third appearance on the mound this season for the Bisons against Middle Tennessee.
Middle Tennessee, a Sunbelt Conference team, is 1-6 this season and 0-6 at home.
“To this point the work is paying off,” Collins said. “Ricky has had some success. And the times he hasn’t had success it is usually contributed to something that he could have done better so that is the next progression. We want to get him to the point where he is more consistent.”
Coleman has hit two home runs and one double and has a team-leading eight RBI. He leads the team in multiple RBI games with three. The biggest plus for Coleman is that he is a versatile hitter.
“Ricky can do so many things,” Collins said. “He can bunt. He can run. He can hit the ball out of the park.
“In the middle part of the order the situation will dictate how different pitchers attack him and how he responds. That is all part of his knowledge base.”
Coleman has shown signs of early power this season. He played in 27 games last season. He has already matched both his totals for home runs and doubles from last season and is two RBI short of tying his total of 10 in 2010.
“What we are seeing is he is applying his power in the right count and the right situation and to the right pitch,” Collins said. “Pound-for-pound Ricky is one of the strongest guys we have in our program. His bat speed is as good as anyone else we have.
“All of that has always been there for Ricky. But what hasn’t always been there is the discipline and the knowledge to swing at the pitch he knows he can do some damage with.”
The Bisons have lost their last nine outings against Middle Tennessee. Under coach Steve Peterson the Blue Raiders are 15-4 against the Bisons.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.