Clayton Taylor’s opportunities at the plate won’t be so plentiful after his .538 weekend for the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“They will start pitching around him now,” Mavs coach Bob Herold said. “Last year, they pitched around him a lot.”
The senior infielder, an Elkhorn Mount Michael graduate, was named the Summit League player of the week after he collected seven RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, a double and a homer as the Mavs went 2-2 at the Perfect Game Spring Swing. He compiled an .846 slugging percentage and a .647 on-base percentage, with at least one hit in every contest.
Herold called the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Taylor a terror who will be UNO’s nomination for the player of the year.
“He just jumped out of the box hot,” Herold said.
That helped Herold pick up his 500th victory last weekend. He’s now 501-355-2 in 17 seasons.
Taylor has proven his hitting prowess in his three seasons with UNO, hitting .352 as a newcomer when he earned freshman All-America honors, and a team-best.342 his second year. That batting average dipped to .308 last season, but he still became UNO’s first three-time All-Summit League choice.
Herold said Taylor has put in a lot of extra work to be ready for his senior season.
“Once they don’t want to pitch to him, he has to be patient, take his walks and let someone else drive in the runs,” Herold said.
Taylor is batting third with transfer Sam Palensky behind him. Palensky, a junior infielder from Papillion-La Vista South, started his career at Southeast Community College, where he was named a second-team All-American and a Gold Glove Award winner while receiving the Marucci Elite Hitter Award.
Herold said he has a solid top four in the batting order, although their spots could change. Right now, senior outfielder Alex Schultz is batting leadoff and senior outfielder Cole Gruber is second, followed by Taylor and Palensky.
“We’re not sure who is going to hit behind those guys,” Herold said.
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