After new bat rules were instituted in the NCAA ranks this season, fans are seeing a return of real baseball to the college game, where the basics — good pitching, solid defense — have returned and the days of just waiting for a homer are gone.
This is the first season under new bat rules enacted by the NCAA; basically, a new formula designed to take the power out of metal bats and make them act more like wooden bats. (Yeah, we know the more logical solution would be to transition to wood bats, but let’s face it: the metal-bat manufacturers are a huge presence in college baseball.) Let’s look at the SEC, arguably the leading baseball conference in the country. AP tallied the offensive stats:
Home runs are down almost by half, while runs per game is down by more than two.
ERAs are down significantly — 4.04 to 3.17 — and shutouts are up.
The batting average is down from .313 to .304.
“The bats have made an enormous difference. It’s changed the way you play,” said LSU Coach Paul Mainieri. “There’s more hit and runs, more stealing and more moving runners any way you can. The days of swinging for the fences on every pitch are finished.”
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