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RC's Standridge keeps hit streak alive in Regents' up, down games

Tuesday, April 20, 2010  
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By Jay Taft
RRSTAR.COM
Posted Apr 20, 2010 @ 10:06 PM
Last update Apr 21, 2010 @ 07:16 AM

LOVES PARK — When Rockford College was slumping, collapsing in the fourth inning of a 7-6 opening loss Tuesday, first-year Regent Kyle Standridge (2-for-4) was hitting away.

When the whole team caught fire, going up 20-0 on the University of Chicago in Game 2, Standridge (4-for-5 with five runs) was still smacking the ball into gaps, as he’s done all season long.

The Regents bounced back to post a 21-5 victory in Tuesday’s closer, and Standridge bumped his school-record hitting streak to 26 games in the process.

"I didn’t even know about the streak until a week or so ago. T.J. (Stanfield) said something like: ‘Five more games and you’ve got me,’” said Standridge, a senior hitting .492 while striking out just six times in 118 at-bats. "I’d rather win than keep a streak alive anytime. But it is fun, and games are a lot easier when you’re having fun.

”Standridge past Stanfield, who set the previous mark of 23 straight games last year, Saturday just a few minutes before belting a walk-off single to left in the bottom of the ninth. The streak itself is impressive — "What he’s doing,” teammate Tyler Clay said, "is amazing; just amazing.” — but the fact that he has hit safely in every game Rockford (17-8-1) has played in makes his feat even more astounding.

"During preseason scrimmages I could tell he was going to have a good year. But this?I don’t know,” third-year Regents hitting coach Ben Albury said. "It has a lot to do with how well he sees the ball. He reads the spin, and just has that eye.”

Standridge has 19 multihit games and has gone past the sixth inning without a hit only three times this year, never waiting for the ninth. He also has only three errors in the field, just two at third base, where he never played before this season.

Standridge went from playing exclusively in left and center field to mostly third base at the same time Tyler Clay went from left to first. Koopmann wasn’t sure how things would turn out, but Clay is hitting .398 with a team-high 22 walks and seven doubles. And Standridge, well, Standridge is playing the best ball of his life.

"I was coming into a new place, at a new school, especially as a senior, and it was very important to me to show these guys I could play right off the bat,” Standridge said. "I felt good to start the season, and it’s just never really stopped. I must admit: I’m seeing the ball as good as I ever have.”

He played in the Junior College World Series in 2007 and 2008 with Elgin, helping his team take fifth his sophomore year. He went to the University of West Alabama, a Division II program, last year, but sprained an ankle ligament in Week 3 and never got his job back.

He was bitter, but is now ecstatic that it worked out the way it did. He’s not the only one.

"He hits to the opposite field; he knows the strike zone; he puts everything in play; he does it all,” said Rockford head coach Bob Koopmann, who earned his 100th win Tuesday. "And I’m sure he’s seeing the ball real well. It’s fun to watch; especially when he’s leading off for you.”

College reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1382 or jtaft@rrstar.com.

This story appeared at http://www.rrstar.com/carousel/x43863985/RCs-Standridge-keeps-hit-streak-alive-in-Regents-up-down-DH on April 20, 2010.

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