Snapped hitting streak is a weight lifted off Beau Taylor’s shoulders
Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 16:03
After Beau Taylor tied the school-record hit streak, he said tying was like "kissing your sister."
On Saturday, the day Taylor had a chance to break the record of a hit in 26-consecutive games, the catcher went 0-for-4, snapping his streak and ultimately staying tied with Mike Myers, who set the 26-game record in 2001.
"Mike Myers, I'd like to meet him, shake his hand," Taylor said.
The junior said it was an honor to be in the record books for the hitting streak.
"I wish it would have been one more," he said.
In Saturday's loss to Southeastern Louisiana, Taylor hit foul balls that assistant coach Cliff Godwin said were only inches from being fair.
"He probably would never admit to this but I think the hitting streak was in the back of his mind and put pressure on him and I knew that as soon as the hitting streak was over that he'd have an awesome game," Godwin said. "And sure enough, Saturday night was over and ... he had [a] double and a home run and it was almost a second home run on the sac fly that Darnell [Sweeney] and Ronnie [Richardson] both scored on."
Taylor, who is "kind of happy" that his streak is over, did admit to thinking about the streak when he was up to bat.
"I was thinking about it a lot," Taylor said about his at-bats on Saturday. "I mean, that was probably a mistake of mine I shouldn't have been doing. I should have been worrying about the game but I was definitely worried about it and I was mad that I didn't get the hit."
In the first inning against Alabama on Sunday, Feb. 29, Taylor doubled to left center. In his next at-bat in the third he hit a sacrifice fly to center to score two runners, something that doesn't usually happen on a sac fly. It was in the fifth inning when he hit his first home run of the season.
"All day I was relaxed — way more relaxed," Taylor said. "I feel like a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders."
What his coaches have challenged him to do more than consistently hit the ball, though, is to be more of a team leader behind the plate.
"I told Beau before the game we needed him more that day than we did all weekend just to be a leader, and he caught awesome," Godwin said. "Sunday was probably his best catching game, best offensive game and that's one of the things that Beau's done a better job to this point. Just being more mature and he's grown up a whole lot and he's been more consistent behind the plate and he's been much more of a team leader."
Taylor, who didn't start catching until his sophomore season in high school, has come a long way in his time with the Knights. Godwin said that he doesn't know if he's coached someone who has improved as much from fall to spring as Taylor did when he was a freshman. Godwin, the team's hitting and catching coach, worked with Taylor, who was the first UCF catcher to earn Freshman All-American honors.
Despite his freshman honors, Taylor has never been voted All-Conference, something that has both the catcher and his coach angry.
"He's hit .340, .350 both years and not been voted All-Conference," Godwin said. "It makes me mad and I hope it makes him mad because I think he is the best catcher in the conference and I want him to be a little bit ticked off and I think this year he's kind of taken it personally and it's been a driving force behind him."
The snub has Taylor, who spent his summer playing in the Cape Cod League studying other catchers from around the country, focused and determined to be the best catcher in Conference USA.
"I was kind of mad when I found out that I wasn't [all-conference]," Taylor said, "So it's fueling me to prove myself to everybody that I am the best catcher in the conference."