Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State benefits from Bascue's new outlook

The person least worried about outfielder Bret Bascue playing against right-handers was Bret Bascue.

How unconcerned was he? He turned down a chance to hit against a right-handed pitcher at Evansville in early April, telling Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson to stick with what worked.

"Gene asked me if I wanted to hit against a right-hander," Bascue said. "At the time, my role was to hit against left-handers only. We need everybody to get going at the same time, so I wanted them to get the at-bats."

Bascue's role is changing as Stephenson searches for hot hitters in the WSU (23-14) lineup. San Jose State (14-21) will start at least two right-handers this weekend. Bascue, a senior right-handed hitter from Derby, will play in left field with Ryan Jones in center and Travis Bennett in right.

"As long as he hits, we would be foolish not to play him," Stephenson said. "He is super-confident against left-handed pitchers. The one thing I wanted to have happen, when he went against right-handers, was that he keep that same confidence."

Confidence shouldn't be a problem for Bascue, who is hitting .607 (17-28) against lefties and .333 (2-6) against right-handers. In 10 starts, he is hitting .559 with a 1.088 slugging percentage and four home runs. He went 2 for 3 against right-handers in Tuesday's loss to Kansas State, his first non-platoon start of the season.

Bascue didn't waste any time worrying about not facing right-handers. He platooned in left with Bennett, who is hitting .315 against right-handers. It was Bennett who hit for Bascue that day in Evansville, and he homered.

As a fifth-year senior, Bascue understood his role.

"I knew if a lefty was pitching, I was going to be playing," he said. "I was comfortable with it. Now, hopefully, I'll get to play every day and fill that role."

Bascue's success against lefties is new. As a junior, he hit .136 against them and .284 against right-handers. Nothing changed other than his attitude, and he expects that to pay off facing right-handers. In his mind, it's all about being a senior and maturing. Starting in the fall, he felt more relaxed and the feeling stuck.

"I've never been this confident at the plate, and I think that has more to do with it than anything," he said. "It's being a senior and understanding that this is probably my last go-around, so take advantage of it and enjoy it and have fun."

Bascue's attitude is also better in the dugout and locker room. Stephenson encouraged Bascue to tone down his sarcasm and be more positive.

"He has matured and begun to realize what he says has impact," Stephenson said. "He has been a wonderful player to work with."

Bascue again points to being a senior for the change.

"I would be in bad moods a lot in the past and kind of go through the motions in practice," he said. "This year, I come to practice and it's another day to get better. I'm having fun, because it is my last year."

His teammates notice his attempts to be a better leader. When things go bad, he is no longer a "Here we go again" kind of player.

"He has more of a filter," senior Cody Lassley said. "This year if something bad happens, he says 'So what. We can do this.' I think it makes a world of difference, not only with the team but with his confidence, too. A positive outlook on things has really helped turn his game around."

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