COLUMBIA — It’s an unwritten rule in baseball: If you play first base, you have to hit for power.
3:30 p.m. - Houston v. Missouri
Noon - Missouri vs. TCU
11 a.m. - Missouri vs. Texas
Venue: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Missouri senior Aaron Senne apparently got the memo.
After a stellar weekend, which earned Senne Big 12 Player of the Week honors, the outfielder-turned-first baseman is hitting .333 with four home runs and 10 RBI through the Tigers’ first six games. The four home runs stick out because Senne hit a career-low six home runs last season.
“I think last year was just kind of unusual,” Senne said. “It wasn’t a very characteristic year for me. It happens, but I feel like I’m right back on track now.”
Senne made the switch to first base to make room for the surplus of talented young outfielders on the Tigers' roster. Senne still considers himself an outfielder and said while his position has changed, he knows his bat will still be relied on.
“You can’t be leaving everything up to all of the younger guys,” Senne said. “I’ve been around, I know what it’s like. I know how to handle myself, and how to prepare myself for each game. I just got to go out there and do it, and make sure I’m ready to play. Help get them ready get ready to play. I think it’s pretty important to take the pressure off of them a little bit.”
Not only is Senne hitting better, but the team’s whole offense is coming together a lot quicker than it did last season. Through their first six games, the Tigers have scored 46 runs, as opposed to the 30 they had through the first six games last season. That plays a big factor in Missouri's 4-2 record as opposed to 1-5 last season.
Junior Brett Nicholas, who transferred from Scottsdale Community College, has also become an important part of the Tiger offense. Nicholas said that watching Senne have a great weekend, makes him want to contribute more as well.
“Just watching him go about his day, day-to-day, and how he approaches his game is just a lot of fun,” Nicholas said. “Watching a veteran like that take over a weekend, just makes you want to pull your weight as well. It makes you want to pick him up as well because he’s working his butt off, so you’ve got to do the same.”
Like Senne, Nicholas is a power hitter learning a new position, moving from catcher to third base. Nicholas also feels more comfortable at his old position. Nicholas said he does not focus on both at the same time, and he knows what he has to do with the bat.
“My thing’s always been to go up there with bad intentions,” Nicholas said. “Just try to drive the ball. When I’m actually at the plate, at my best, I’m thinking about taking the pitcher’s head off.”
Having the team’s best power hitters playing positions they’re not entirely comfortable with might not be ideal, but coach Time Jamieson said they are making it work.
“I think that they’re both team guys,” Jamieson said. “They recognize the team needs them to play those positions. Really for them too, they might be the best places for them to play for their future. The bottom line is they’re mature kids, they want to play good defense, they want to hit and they want to win.”
Jamieson said the most important thing is to get the whole team hitting the ball and figuring out their roles.
And while Senne would prefer to play the outfield, his bat certainly has come alive as a first baseman. Senne said there is one major benefit to the change.
“ I don’t have to make the long run out to the outfield in between every inning,” Senne said.
The Tigers next play when they start the Houston College Classic on Friday in Houston, Texas.