Baseball: Former LP standout Hart is learning fast at Minnesota State
Published 9:07 pm Monday, May 9, 2016
Former Lyle-Pacelli standout Jordan Hart is having a breakout season in his freshman year with the Minnesota State University baseball team, but he’s not going to let it get to his head.
Hart, who plays outfield at MSU, has played in 41 of 47 games for the Mavericks (33-14 overall) and he’s hitting .323 with six homers, six doubles, four triples and 34 RBIs. Hart came into the season knowing he had to learn to show up and work hard from the first day he got to Mankato.
“I knew they had a lot of good players here so I’d have to compete for a spot. You have to come out with energy every day,” Hart said. “I’m not trying to get too high or too low. I’m trying to stay consistent and just take it one play at a time. You can’t think ahead.”
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While he’s finding success with his bat, Hart has also been learning on the fly in the outfield, after mostly playing in the infield in high school. Hart has been learning more about playing the position and he credits his veteran outfield teammates Taylor Branstad, a senior from Apple Vallery, Josh Wenzel, a sophomore from Randall, Minn., and Chase Lonetti, a senior from from Woodbury, with helping him learn the position.
“I’m learning a lot about footwork and they’ve taught me a lot,” Hart said.
Hart compares the pitching he’s seen at the Division II level to what he saw playing with the Austin Greyhounds last summer, but he said the pitchers throw even faster and they’re harder to hit in the Northern Sun Conference than the pitchers in amateur baseball.
Hart found some early success with the Mavericks when he hit a grand slam for his first college home run March 9. That homer helped Hart feel a lot more comfortable at the plate.
“It felt good. It caught me by surprise,” Hart said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and it went over. That gave me some confidence early on.”
Hart and the Mavericks have wrapped up regular season play and they will begin play in the Northern Sun Conference tournament in St. Cloud Wednesday.
“It’s been exciting,” Hart said. “We have a good group of guys and we’re ready to compete and play hard. If you we just take it one game at a time, we have a chance to go pretty far.”