TUESDAY, May 10, 2016

NC State sophomore redefining the Mendoza Line

Source: WRAL Sports Fan published by Blog


RALEIGH - North Carolina State sophomore Evan Mendoza has been an offensive dynamo this year for the Wolfpack.


Hitting .380 and working on a 20-game hitting streak, Mendoza is a huge reason why the Pack have been camped out in college baseball's top 10 for most of the year.


“This season I have just really prided myself on grinding it out every day,” Mendoza said. “I’m making sure I’m doing something every day to better my baseball skills.”


And talk about skills: Mendoza's success is even more impressive when you consider how rarely he saw the field last season. Used primarily as a pitcher, Mendoza had a grand total of three at-bats as a freshman -- without a single hit.


“He came to me last spring, and started out in the rotation,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “He said, ‘coach, pitching once a week, I just can’t do it. I want to play.’”


The answer was a spot in the infield. Mendoza was NC State's opening day starter at 3rd base, and once he got his chance to play every day, he made the most of it.


“You have to be patient in this game,” Mendoza said. “Not everything is going to happen right then when you want it to. That is something that this year has taught me.”


There's an old joke in baseball that a player hitting below .200 is below the “Mendoza Line." That is named for named for former Pittsburgh Pirates light-hitting shortstop from the 1970s, Mario Mendoza.


NC State's Evan Mendoza is redefining the Mendoza line -- raising the bar closer to .400.