Austin Edens: Swinging for the fences

by Brian Hill

After a dismal 12-1 loss to the University of Alabama on Wednesday, April 7, the Samford baseball team has bounced back by recording a remarkable 9-2 record.

The streak of success has featured some outright blowouts, fueled largely by the firepower in the middle of the team’s lineup.

When it comes to big hitters for the Bulldogs, look no further than freshman first baseman Austin Edens.

Starting all four years in high school at St. Michael the Archangel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Edens cranked out 28 home runs, a record that still stands today. According to Samford head coach Casey Dunn, Edens’ success in high school has transitioned smoothly to the collegiate level.

“Austin was a guy that we thought could come in and hit dynamically for us at this level,” Dunn said. “He has really swung the bat well for us, and I have been really impressed with his walk-to-strikeout ratio. It is one of the best on the team.”

Edens recorded several singles during the early part of the season, which led to more confidence.

Once the confidence was established, he has been on an all-out tear at the plate, leading the team and conference in slugging percentage (.673), while ranking second in home runs (12). Since moving into the clean-up spot in the ‘Dogs lineup, his batting average has soared to a remarkable .354.

“I’ve really been seeing the ball better as the season has gone on and that has made it easier to put better swings on better pitches,” Edens said. “Now that I have gotten a lot more comfortable with my swing, I can enjoy the best part, just playing ball.”

It hasn’t been just individual success that teammates and fans have experienced. Edens’ progression at the plate has helped the Bulldogs churn out nine wins in the past 11 games. When Samford played ETSU on April 17-18, Edens hit four home runs in the series, including two in one game. Teammate Devan Traglia was thrilled with the showing.

“That’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen,” Traglia said.

Edens has racked up 14 hits, 18 RBIs and eight home runs over the past 11 games. Right now his focus is on propelling his team to more wins, and he is doing just that.

A consistent and reliable slugger is a valuable asset to any MLB team. If Edens continues this trend, he could easily find himself playing in the big leagues one day.

“Every baseball player wants to play pro ball. If someone gives me the chance to play pro ball, I will definitely answer the call,” Edens said.

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