Huth Healthy and Hitting

West Virginia centerfielder KC Huth was expected to be a mainstay for the Mountaineer baseball team from the start of the 2015 season, but a troublesome recovery from a hand injury slowed him in the first part of the year. However, the move into WVU's new home stadium, combined with a pain-free hand, saw him break out with a monster weekend to help the Mountaineers record a sweep of Butler.

Coming into the 2015 season, WVU needed to replace Bobby Boyd, who departed in the Major League Baseball Draft. It set its sights on KC Huth, a junior college transfer from Fullerton College in California, who was expected to provide punch at the top of the order and, if not replace, at least adequately fill the defensive gap left by the speedy Boyd. However, things got off to a rough start for Huth, mostly due to a broken bone in his hand that didn't recover as quickly as hoped.

"I wasn't too comfortable," Huth admitted of his plate appearances in March. "It definitely affected my swing. It changed my swing totally. It had me rolling over on a lot of balls. I couldn't get my hand through and my wrist was taped so tight I couldn't get a lot of movement with it. It's getting a lot better now."

In a sport science that requires so much on consistency and the same approach each time up, changing a swing isn't something that is likely to yield great immediate results. Hitters constantly study tape and consult with coaches to help spot flaws and bad habits, so getting away from something that works certainly isn't an optimal situation. While Huth wasn't looking for an excuse for his slow start, there's no doubt that the broken bone near the base of his had was problematic.

As the season moved along and the recovery didn't move as quickly as hoped, Huth dropped down the batting order and even missed a few starts in order to provide more rest and reduce pressure on him. When he finally got better motion in his wrist and was able to release through his swing, the hits began to come in bunches.

In his four most recent games, the redshirt junior went 9-for-15 for a .600 batting average with four runs, two doubles, one home run, six RBI, four walks and one stolen base. He finished with a .933 slugging percentage and a .684 on-base percentage, combining for an outsized OPS of 1.617. During the three-game weekend series against Butler, he was 9-for-13 (.692) with four hits on Friday, two hits on Saturday and three hits on Sunday. Among his three hits on Sunday were two doubles and a three-run home run. All six of his weekend RBI came with two outs.

"I've just been feeling really good with my swing," Huth said of the recent tear. "It's really starting to click for me. I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball every at bat."

Defensively, Huth has also been very good. He's committed just one error on the season and has three assists from the outfield, which is the second-best on the team at that position. And while he might not be as fast as Boyd, he's covered center field well.

Also providing a boost for Huth was the move into the new Monongalia County Ballpark, which the team has been anticipating for some time.

"It's awesome. I love this environment," he said in the midst of the opening homestand. "We have a great fan base. That's one thing we were looking forward to -- playing home games with a bunch of fans and making people proud and having fun. I couldn't ask for a better stadium. It's the nicest place I've ever played in my life."


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