Pavkovich in the swing

When Adam Pavkovich was hit by a pitch in an earlier 9-1 win over Rhode Island, it set the record for most times (5) that an Alabama team was hit by a pitch in a single game. <br><br>The record extended to seven, but it's probably a good thing the Ram pitcher plunked Pavkovich, especially with the way the junior shortstop has been hitting the ball lately.

Pavkovich started the season with just one hit in his first 12 at-bats (.083) before going on his recent tear at the plate. Pavkovich's first four games saw him hitting at an .083 clip, definitely unacceptable for a returning starter expected to be a leader offensively.

But then he went to work on his swing.

Pavkovich has turned into a serious offensive threat.

"I was just hitting a lot in the cages and watching video," said Pavkovich. "I figured out what was wrong with my swing, and now I have a swing that's comfortable. I go up there with the approach that I'm going to look for fastballs."

Pavkovich enters this week with an 11-game hitting streak, the second-longest of his career. He had a 13-game hitting streak last season for the Crimson Tide. During his current streak, Pavkovich is batting .512 (22-for-43) with five HRs and 18 RBI. He leads the Crimson Tide with nine doubles and 14 walks.

As for changing the swing, Pavkovich said that all he did was drop his hands down a little bit. But it was something else that had been really hindering Pavkovich's hitting.

Due to a broken nose, Pavkovich had been wearing a face mask on his batting helmet similar to what most little leaguers in the Tuscaloosa area wear. He said it was the lines through the cage that hindered his ability to see the ball.

"For me to see out of each hole, I had to keep still," Pavkovich said. "So I kept still and was able to hit the ball. Now the mask is gone, and I pretend it's still there and I can focus on the ball."

He broke out of his slump with a 3-for-4 performance in the series opener against Southeast Missouri State where he hit a home run and drove in two runs. For the season, Pavkovich is the team's third leading hitter at .418 and is second on the team with five home runs.

As a No. 2 hitter, however, he doesn't feel pressure to be an elite hitter.

"I don't feel pressure to get the big hits," he said. "But I do feel the need to show leadership and direction to the young guys."

Pavkovich's strong throwing arm gives him an edge at shortstop.

Last year, Pavkovich led the SEC with 24 errors. This year he has committed four, but usually commits his in bunches. This year against SEMO, he committed two.

"During the game errors come in bunches," he said. "You just have to forget about it and make the next play, because that's bigger than the last one."

Pavkovich arrived to campus his freshman year weighing a meager 160 pounds. While he had a strong enough arm, his hitting couldn't come around and he spent most of the season as a backup. Last year, he supplanted original starter Carlos Sosa at the shortstop position, starting 58 games and hitting .272 with six home runs and 31 RBIs.

His strength has kept him in the lineup, and the fact that he was rated as having the best infield arm in the SEC by Baseball America makes him a solid shortstop.

"It's a huge difference," Pavkovich said. "I was 160 and now I weigh 195. My body has filled out now."

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