As Cody Lassley walks to the plate at Eck Stadium, he is reminded of what he has added to the Wichita State lineup this year.
The public-address music played prior to his at-bats is "Animal I Have Become" by Three Days Grace. It lets everyone know that he is no longer a great defensive catcher who is just a .270 hitter.
Lassley, a redshirt senior, has transformed into the leading hitter for WSU (7-1), which plays host to Central Arkansas (4-6) tonight.
After winning the battle with sophomore Chris O'Brien for the everyday catching job, Lassley has proven that he deserves it.
"From the beginning, people said, 'Well, he can catch and throw, but he can't hit,' " WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. "Well, I think he's proven that different."
Lassley has started the season at the plate truly as an animal. He's hitting .708 with hits in 17 of 24 at-bats, a .724 on-base percentage and a 1.375 slugging percentage.
Lassley leads the Shockers with four home runs, equaling his total from all of last year after eight games.
"It's great, it gives me a lot of confidence and for our team, it gives us a lot of confidence as a whole," Lassley said.
He has led the Shockers to a winning start and an explosive one. The Shockers have scored less than five runs once, its loss Friday to Florida Gulf Coast. WSU has scored double-digit runs in five games.
"Really this year I wanted to focus on winning and let everything else take care of itself," Lassley said. "That's all I care about this year, winning baseball games, and I think that's kind of taken a lot of pressure off me just from myself."
Lassley, who was named WSU athlete of the week, has moved up to hitting cleanup the last two games, but it doesn't mean he has changed his approach.
He dropped a bunt down for a single an inning after hitting a home run in Saturday's win over Florida Gulf Coast. Lassley has also stolen three bases.
"If the defense shows me they are playing back, I can lay a bunt down," Lassley said. "If we need to drive in some runs, I love hitting the gaps. I just look at the defense and take advantage any way I can."