Dresden’s Beaty back on track to aid Bruins
Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Matt Beaty is getting back in a groove. His team is on a roll.
The Belmont sophomore third baseman went 3-for-9 with two runs and an RBI in a weekend OVC series against UT Martin at the Skyhawks’ home field.
Reaching base a total of eight times — he walked three times and was hit twice — Beaty helped the Bruins take two of the three games and hold the top spot in the Ohio Valley Conference standings with a 10-2 league mark and 23-7 overall record.
For the former Dresden High School standout, coming “home” sure felt good.
“It’s always fun coming back and having some fans at my games,” Beaty said. “It’s easy for them to get to these games.”
Head coach Dave Jarvis can relate to Beaty’s situation of being at home while playing for the visiting team.
“I asked him when we got here if the air felt better in his lungs,” the coach said. “So, we’ve talked about it. He grew up in Dresden, and I grew up in a small town in Missouri, so we have a lot in common and a lot of things we can relate to in those experiences.”
The weekend visit helped Beaty inch his batting average up to .238 for the season. It could also be the springboard he needs to make a strong push as Belmont heads into the final seven weeks before the OVC Tournament begins May 22 in Jackson.
“I’m just trying to see my pitch,” Beaty said. “My batting average is not where I want it to be, but I’m feeling really good at the plate. I’m feeling confident and hitting the ball hard but right at people. I just have to stay focused.”
Hard hits that find fielders’ gloves is just one of the reasons Beaty’s average is down nearly 20 points from the .256 mark he posted his freshman season. An early-season beaning is the other.
“He had an injury early in the season when he was hit in the head with a pitch at Georgia,” Jarvis said. “His numbers have suffered since then because he missed eight or nine days and that messed with his timing.”
Beaty was hit in the top of the sixth inning of the Bruins’ game against the Bulldogs on Feb. 23. He missed five games and didn’t return to the line-up until March 3rd in the third game of a three-game set against Illinois State.
He then went 0-for-9 before breaking out with two hits, including a home run, against Southeast Missouri on March 10th.
“He’s been a little snakebit,” Jarvis said. “He’s hit a lot of balls that have been right at somebody. It’s not really a concern for me because he’s still giving us quality at-bats and is still a quality RBI guy. I’m really excited about what the future holds for him over the next month-and-a-half. It’s just a matter of time.”
Beatty currently has 20 hits and has scored 13 runs while driving in 14. He has four doubles, including one in Saturday’s game, and two homers.
He has walked 20 times and been hit by a pitch three times, the third dished out by former prep rival Dalton Potts of Greenfield in Sunday’s game. He has struck out just seven times and is 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts after swiping seven last year.
Defensively, he has 43 assists and 15 put-outs along with seven errors for an .892 fielding percentage.
Four assists, one put-out and three errors came this past weekend.
For his part, Beaty is thinking team and team goals, and he sees the potential for a strong finish to the season.
“Our pitchers have been phenomenal, and our bats are coming around,” Beaty said. “If our bats pick up and our pitching stays like it is, we’re going to be a team that a lot of teams are not going to want to play.”
Winning the league tourney would give the Bruins their third consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, coming off back-to-back titles in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Beaty and his Belmont teammates appear to be turning up the heat on the rest of the league.
Published in The WCP 4.9.13