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Player a one-man GSU bomb squad

POSTED: April 22, 2011 10:03 a.m.

He’s hit more home runs than anybody else in the country.
When he had the first multi-homer game of his career back on April 2 — he sent three over the fence against The Citadel — he decided that wasn’t good enough, so he hit two more the next day.
He got a standing ovation after striking out to end that series.
He homered in all five games last week. In the past month, he’s hit 13.
He’s been the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week twice.
He’s 19 years old.
His name is Victor Roache, and as Georgia Southern prepares for a three-game series against Elon this weekend — a series that could put the Eagles in first place in the Southern Conference — Roache has been on a hot streak that nobody could have foreseen.
“I don’t think you expect anybody to do that for a stretch like he has,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said about the sophomore right fielder who battled injuries throughout the offseason. “Obviously, we felt like he’d be improved this year. You expect guys to improve from one year to the next, but he’s just had a heck of a run.”
Entering last week, Roache trailed James Madison’s Jake Lowery by four in the home-run column.
Five bombs later, Roache sits at the top of the nation with 18 homers — one in every 7.9 at-bats.
“I had friends and family from back home telling me, ‘You’re No. 1 right now.’ It’s cool,” said Roache, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich. “It’s cool to have that title. There’s a little added pressure, but you’ve just got to remember that every day’s a new day.”
Roache hit eight homers in his 2010, true-freshman campaign. He battled through injuries that season, and in the fall of last year, he broke his leg.
Obviously, he’s bounced back from the disabled list.
And he’s doing something right.
“It’s hard to explain, you know? Don’t worry about what you did in the last at-bat,” he said. “Approach every at-bat differently. See the ball, hit the ball.
“I’m just trying to take it all in.”
Hennon chalks it up to experience.
“He’s getting at-bats,” the GSU coach said. “Maturity is just part of the process of developing as a player. I think from day one, physically, we all saw the tools that he has. But he missed a lot of at-bats last summer with an injury, broke his ankle in the fall and missed all those at-bats, too. More than anything else, it’s his second year playing at this level.”
Roache has homered in eight of the past 10 games and sits in seventh place in the country in RBIs with 50, but right now, the only thing that matters is the next game. Elon (24-14, 14-4 SoCon) comes to J.I. Clements Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday, and if the Eagles (22-15, 11-4) can take the series, they will overtake the lead in the conference standings.
Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Matt Yogus can be reached at 912-489-9408.

 

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