Auburn, Ala.--A tweak in Josh Anthonny's approach at the plate has made a major difference in his production as his Auburn team continues to be one of the success stories of the 2017 SEC baseball season.
Anthony came into Tuesday’s night win at Kennesaw State batting .252. After coming through with 11 hits in 16 at-bats in four games he will go into this week’s Tuesday home contest vs. Troy batting .298 as the current SEC Player of the Week.
“I opened up a little bit to help me get into a good hitting position earlier,” he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.
“Early in the season I was swinging at pitchers’ pitches and I wasn’t getting into a good hitting position on time,” Anthony explains. “Now this adjustment is helping me see the ball for a longer period of time and get ready to hit the ball.”
In addition to the batting average boost, he has increased his slugging percentage from .311 to .391 with the help of a home run and three doubles in the past week. He also improved his on-base percentage from .378 to .425 in the last four games while driving home nine runs, scoring six times and stealing two bases.
Asked if he has a history of hitting the ball better deeper into a season, Anthony said, "I guess you could say that. My freshman and sophomore years in junior college, I started off slow. I didn’t start off as slow as I did this year, but I have started off slow so I guess the more repetition, the more I see pitches, the better I am.”
When the Tigers signed the former Hardaway High star from Columbus, Ga., out of Western Oklahoma State his reputation was as a strong hitter. He has also shown this season he is a standout with his glove at third base.
“That is kudos to Coach (Brad) Bohannon,” he says. “Big kudos to Coach Bohannon. He is a hound when it comes to defense. He works with us every day defensively and it is paying off in our games.”
At the plate Anthony smacked at least two hits in every game in the past week with a season-best four in Sunday’s win vs. Arkansas, which helped the Tigers take the series two games to one.
Anthony notes that he is having fun in his first season with the Tigers. “I am enjoying it day in and day out,” he says.
Asked why he believes his Tigers have a 30-12 overall record and a 12-6 mark in the SEC, Anthony says, “It’s the camaraderie. We all believe in each other and that is the big thing. When you have people who believe in one another it is hard to defeat that.”