Frenzel in top form
Cole Frenzel's sophomore season at the University of Arizona has been reassuring after a broken hamate bone in his right hand stunted his freshman season.
"I wasn't quite the player I felt I was," said Frenzel, a 2009 Dickinson High School graduate.
This year he is.
One year removed from his injury-shortened freshman season, the first baseman leads the streaking Wildcats into the NCAA baseball tournament as a Pac-10 all-conference selection and the team's most consistent presence at the plate.
"It's been a good year so far, keep it going," Frenzel said.
The Wildcats (36-19) have won 12 of their last 15 games and face Seton Hall (33-23) at 11:35 a.m. today in the College Station (Texas) Regional. The four-team regional tournament is double-elimination format and the winner advances to the best-of-three Super Regional series. That winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
While Arizona coach Andy Lopez calls Frenzel, "probably our most consistent player offensively," he said it was difficult to figure out Frenzel's capabilities during his freshman season.
"I don't think you could really gauge last year," Lopez said. "He was hurt all the time and I don't think he ever really got healthy."
It took until the end of the season for Frenzel to begin showing signs of the patient but powerful, left-handed hitter they recruited.
He ended the season with an on-base streak of 20 consecutive games, which carried over into this spring when he opened the season with 39 consecutive games in which he reached base safely with a hit, a walk or a hit-by-pitch. The overall streak of 59 games tied a school record.
Frenzel isn't just waiting for walks, either.
He finished second in the Pac-10 with a .365 batting average and led the league with a .477 on-base percentage. He has 44 RBI and scored 44 runs, one of only three players in the Pac-10 to reach 40 in both categories.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Lopez said. "He has a real good concept of the strike zone. He's done a good job of taking base on balls when you ask him to. He doesn't panic. He has a solid concept of what a strike is at this level."
Frenzel has started every game this season, has three home runs, a triple and is tied for the team lead with 15 doubles.
"I felt at my best most of the year," Frenzel said. "You don't always feel 100 percent, but I felt good. That really helps out a lot when you're in good shape."
If the Wildcats win the College Station Regional, they'll extend their season. If not, Frenzel will likely pack up and head to the East Coast.
If Arizona's season ends without a trip to the College World Series, Frenzel is expected to go to the prestigious Cape Cod League and play for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. That season begins Friday, June 10.
"The Cape is going to be a blast," Frenzel said. "But that's a little ways from my mind, too. I want to get to Omaha. If we can get to the World Series, I might just work out all summer, try to get a lot stronger, bigger, faster and come back next year."
Frenzel is also once again eligible for the MLB draft, which begins Monday, but said it is the "furthest thing from my mind."
He fell to the 48th round of the 2009 MLB draft after it became known he had decided not to entertain offers from major league clubs in favor of attending Arizona.
"I've heard a lot of stuff there, but you can never trust any of that," Frenzel said of the draft. "You never know what's going to happen there. I'll see what happens with the draft. If not, I plan on going to Cape Cod."