Nebraska baseball player Michael Pritchard would rather be playing in the outfield, but a shoulder injury is confining him to the batter's box - and for Pritchard, that's a good thing.
The Nebraska sophomore is currently serving as the Huskers designated hitter - a role that has him on a 21-game hitting streak, the longest for any Nebraska batter since the 2003 season.
"Last year we had about a month left in the season, we were struggling. The bottom half our order was hitting like .200. Coach Erstad says, 'This is serious. We're looking for someone to play this weekend. Hit the ball to left field. I think I had 5 at bats that day, everything I hit was to left field. I had a couple hits and have been in the line-up ever since," Pritchard commented.
Pritchard doesn't have any home runs, but he leads the team in hits, batting average, and runs scored with a .437 on-base percentage. With that production, head coach Darin Erstad doesn't have any choice but to use him at the top of the line-up.
"He just has the God-given ability to get the bat to the baseball," Erstad said.
"I've accepted my role. The lead-off hitter doesn't need to hit home runs. As long as I'm reaching base, our offense works," said Pritchard.