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Sam Fragale Highlighted By NCAA.com For Improvement in 2017

Sam Fragale Highlighted By NCAA.com For Improvement in 2017

Article appears courtesy of NCAA.com | By Anthony Chiusano

Baseball is a game of adjustments, whether they come in-game, midseason or during the offseason. The offseason variety is exemplified by the following individuals who have taken their games to the next level in 2017.

Here are some of the most improved players across college baseball this season:

Sam Fragale | Virginia Tech

The signs of Fragale's improvement at the plate surfaced early in 2017. In Virginia Tech's season opener against USC Upstate, Fragale bashed three home runs in his first three at bats en route to finishing 5-for-5 on the day.

"It wasn't necessarily a look into what the season was going to be like, but it was kind of a glimpse, I guess," Fragale told NCAA.com on Tuesday. “It was an idea of what I could do if I kept working.”

The redshirt junior infielder has rode the momentum from opening day to midway through the season, compiling a .333 batting average, 14 home runs and 53 RBIs so far — all career-highs. In his first two seasons in Blacksburg, he hit all of eight combined home runs in 90 games.

Fragale credits experience and confidence as the major factors in his breakout 2017 campaign. He added that over the offseason he focused on attacking the ball earlier in the count with a simplified swing.

“Throughout the summer playing summer ball, I went in there with the mindset to move the ball earlier in the count," Fragale said. "Last year I had a lot of strikeouts and that cut down on the opportunities to get RBIs and stuff like that.

“I kind of almost slowed my mechanics down but got everything going earlier to get myself more time to see the ball.”

The results have shown in increased power and efficiency. He's cut his strikeout per plate appearance by one and has increased his on base percentage by nearly 50 points from last season.

Fragale's production hasn't slowed down with the start of ACC play, where a different opposing ace awaits each weekend. So far in conference play, Fragale has six homers and a .618 slugging percentage.

“The ACC is one of the best conferences in the country. The competition is fantastic, the pitching is fantastic and you’re never going a weekend without seeing a great arm," he said. "It’s just your mentality in sticking with your approach and not taking a pitch off.”

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