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Ohio lost to Ohio State 6 to 3 during its game on March 29.

Baseball: John Adryan leading Ohio as a potentially historic power threat

John Adryan is off to a career-high in home runs, but what will that mean as the season moves on?

Last season, then-junior third baseman John Adryan hit his fifth home run of the season in Ohio’s 56th game, in the NCAA Tournament.

This year, Adryan hit his fifth home run of the year in just the 16th game. In the next 15 games, he hit six more.

With around two-fifths of the season left to play, Adryan has already become the first Bobcat since Jenson Painter in 2012 to reach double-digit home runs for the season.

Adryan's 11 homers rank him second only to Miami’s Gary Russo (13) in the Mid-American Conference.

But it's not just home runs. Adryan is fourth in the conference in RBIs (32) and total bases (88), and he's sixth in slugging percentage (.591).

“He understands how to hit and when to sit pitches,” coach Rob Smith said. “He’s shown a lot of maturity."

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While it may be unfair to suggest the power production the 6-3, 215 pound senior has shown this season has been a big surprise, it wasn’t exactly predictable either.

Adryan collected extra-base hits in just 5.5% of his at-bats over his first two years of college ball, and even with five home runs last year, still only raised that mark to 7.7% in his junior year.

This season, extra-base hits make up more than 15.4% of his at-bats.

“I try to stay within my approach at-bat by at-bat and pitch by pitch,” Adryan said. "I just have a good idea of what to look for and don’t try to do too much.”

The most important thing about Adryan isn’t the power he’s shown, but the sustainability of that power. What began as a pleasantly surprising hot streak to open the year has only strengthened since.

An influx of power in a player’s game almost always comes at a cost, however, and with Adryan, that cost has been his strikeout numbers.

His 35 strikeouts this season are already a career high and make up 23.4% of his at-bats. Seeing the slugger trail in walks to three teammates who have combined for just one home run this season is a little alarming as well.

Given what he provides in the lineup, though, it’s difficult to see much reason for nitpicking when it comes to looking at Adryan’s line. The lineup is just as deep as it was last season, and there’s good reason to believe it may be even deeper.

There are several guys in the order who can keep their strikeouts down, walks up, and clog up the basepaths. There’s even margin for error for Ohio’s defense, which currently ranks third in the MAC in fielding percentage, to make up for Adryan’s fielding at third base, which has caused him nine errors this season.

There is just one guy, however, who has the ability to alter a game’s outcome this quickly and frequently, and that one guy is Adryan.

His current course has him in line for some pretty significant Ohio history, too. While Marc Kruass’ program record of 27 in a season may be a stretch, just five homers in the last 20 games of the season (MAC Tournament included) would make him just the 12th player in Bobcat history to finish with 16 in a season.

Eight more would place him in the top five, and ten more would tie him for second place.

@_TonyWolfe_

aw987712@ohio.edu

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