TCU

TCU hitter credits same old thing for .500 start, best in the Big 12

Elliott Barzilli reacts as his batted ball goes through the right side for a single to win Game 3 of an NCAA regional series against N.C. State last season. His hit in the 10th inning completed a TCU comeback from an 8-1 deficit two innings earlier.
Elliott Barzilli reacts as his batted ball goes through the right side for a single to win Game 3 of an NCAA regional series against N.C. State last season. His hit in the 10th inning completed a TCU comeback from an 8-1 deficit two innings earlier. Star-Telegram

The Big 12’s leading hitter doesn’t want to change a thing.

“Stay short and stick to my routine,” TCU third baseman Elliott Barzilli said, asked what he did to hit .512 through the first 11 games. “Just not get away from my routine. Last year, I wasn’t that big on routine.”

Whatever he’s doing, it has made the junior from Los Angeles one of the nation’s top hitters through the early part of the Division I baseball schedule. Barzilli began 16 for 21, pushing his average to .762 before a human-like 6 for 23 stretch left him at an even .500 (22 for 44) after Tuesday’s victory against UT Arlington.

But that still makes him one of the nation’s few .500 hitters. He began the week ninth in the country in batting average.

It’s not something I think about. I just think about winning each at-bat and taking the game pitch-to-pitch.

TCU third baseman Elliott Barzilli

“It’s an awesome feeling, considering my road coming here,” he said. “But it’s not something I think about. I just think about winning each at-bat and taking the game pitch-to-pitch.”

Barzilli’s road to TCU began at Georgia Tech, where he was a starter as a freshman. But when his role as a sophomore became unclear, he was advised to transfer. After some looking and talking, he got on TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle’s radar and found his way to Fort Worth.

Last season, he hit .250 in 33 games. He started 18 games at first base, four at third, one at second and one as the designated hitter. His single in the 10th inning completed TCU’s wild rally against NC State in a regional series last year.

TCU third baseman Elliott Barzilli ranks ninth in the nation with a .500 batting average. Last season, he hit .250 as a backup infielder.

This year, Barzilli is the everyday third baseman. He matched his home run total from a year ago just six games in and exceeded his RBI total two games ago. He leads the team in slugging (.773) and on-base percentage (.540).

“Regardless of whether you’re playing or not, I think having a routine, getting to the field, knowing what you’re going to do every day — a big quote for us is, ‘Your routine can’t slump,’ ” he said. “It’s natural for a hitter to go through slumps and get hot and things like that. But your routine can’t slump.”

Can he keep it up? The school record for batting average in a season is .465 by Mike Ramsey in 1985. The hits record for a season is 99 by Bryan Holaday in 2010. Barzilli would have to keep up a two-hit-a-game pace for 40 or more games.

Barzilli smiled as he signed autographs after last week’s series finale against Gonzaga.

“I’m not thinking about how I want to end the season, how I started — I don’t think about those at-bats,” he said. “I just think about the next one.”

Pretty routine answer.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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