Jacksonville’s Kris Armstrong could always hit for power, but never like this.
Armstrong slugged six home runs over eight at-bats against Central Arkansas this past weekend, and he's gone deep eight times in 15 trips to the plate since Thursday.
“It's kind of an out-of-body experience,” Armstrong said Monday. “You don't expect to do three home runs two games in a row. I think it's just a matter of staying loose and trying to hit balls hard and then letting the results play out the way they deem necessary.”
The fifth-year senior is second nationally with 16 homers, one behind his former Florida teammate Jac Caglianone.
Armstrong had 12 homers in 308 at-bats over four seasons with the Gators. He was among three players sharing playing time at first base and designated hitter by the end of last season. He transferred to Jacksonville for more playing time.
Now playing third base, he's batting a team-best .358 and is 13 for 21 with 24 RBIs during the Dolphins' current five-game win streak. His 46 RBIs lead the nation.
He was 4 for 5 with three homers and a school-record eight RBIs in Saturday's 17-2 win and 3 for 3 with three homers and seven RBIs in Sunday's 12-2 win.
“I was always a power guy,” he said. “Batting practice was kind of my thing. It was always something I took pride in, trying to see how far I could hit the ball. But translating it into the game took some time.”
Armstrong attributes his recent tear to changing his approach at the plate. Instead of waiting for a particular type of pitch, he said, he's looking for one in a certain area of the strike zone. A pitch that's up and middle-inside is what he likes best.
“It's really helped me,” he said. “I used to be kind of a guesser up there, just trying to guess pitches. It was more like a 50-50 coin flip whether I was right or wrong. Now I’m sort of becoming a zone hitter. I think it’s really helped me as of late.”
IN THE POLLS
LSU (21-3) is the consensus No. 1 team for the seventh straight week after it won two of three at home against Arkansas.
D1Baseball.com ranks Wake Forest (22-3) second and Florida (22-4) third while Baseball America flip-flopped those two.
Collegiate Baseball newspaper has South Carolina (23-2) second and Virginia (22-2) third.
Texas has bounced back from its 4-7 start to win 14 games in a row for the nation's longest active streak.
The Longhorns' surge drew little notice until this week because only one of their opponents during the streak was in the top 100 of the RPI. The weekend sweep of Texas Tech opened eyes because the Red Raiders were a top-25 RPI team coming off a series win over Big 12 challenger Oklahoma State.
Texas took the last two games in walk-off fashion, winning 6-5 Saturday on a wild pitch and 9-8 Sunday on Garret Guillemette's homer.
CREWS IS CRUISING
LSU All-American Dylan Crews went 10 for 16 with four homers, nine RBIs and nine runs in four games last week. He also walked three times and was hit by a pitch, which contributed to his .700 on-base percentage for the week. His hitting streak stands at 22 games and his on-base streak at 24.
AROUND THE HORN
Florida’s Caglianone homered three times in a three-game sweep of defending national champion Mississippi. ... South Carolina, which was 27-28 and four games under .500 in SEC play last season, is 23-2 and 6-0 after sweeping Missouri. ... First-year Washington coach Jason Kelly picked up his biggest series win so far when the Huskies won two of three on the road against a top 10-ranked UCLA. ... Southern California, which won a total of two Pac-12 series last year, swept Washington State and has won three in a row to open conference play.
AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25