A pleasant surprise this season for the West Virginia University baseball team has been the play of junior shortstop Taylor Munden
, who has shown the ability to jumpstart the offense and play sound defense.
“Last year was tough time for me. I took that as motivation to go into this year and taking my defense to heart,” Munden says. “I had a lot of errors last year and I have tried to fix that. The game has really slowed down for me this year and I think I’ve played my role and not tried to do to much.”
Last night, Munden led the Mountaineers off with a single in the first inning, triggering a five-run first inning that became a 7-0 victory. It marked the 11th time Munden has reached to lead off in 31 games this season.
The improvement at the plate has resulted in a .278 batting average, nine doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases after posting a .203 average in 2013.
"Every time I get on base, Bobby (Boyd) gets on base and then Billy (Fleming) usually knocks us in,” Munden says. “It’s been like that all year. It’s a big motivational thing for the team if I get on base and everybody gets going like we did yesterday.”
In the field, Munden has been magnificent as his seven errors ties him for second place for least errors made by an everyday shortstop in the Big 12. Munden believes the biggest difference is the ability to focus on just one position after making 18 errors and playing eight different positions in 2013.
“It’s a lot easier to focus on one thing instead of having to know when I’m going to go somewhere and what to do in what situation,” Munden says. “It’s been nice keeping my arm in shape for that position.”
Munden will look for his 12th leadoff hit of the season, as the Mountaineers take on Oklahoma in game two at 7 p.m. this evening. The game will be televised on affiliates of Fox College Sports Central. The radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG College.