Vanderbilt shortstop Anthony Gomez possesses a lot of qualities seen in good hitters: aggressiveness, confidence, fearlessness, a great swing and the ability to make contact.
To Commodores coach Tim Corbin, however, what Gomez doesn’t do might be his biggest, most underrated attribute.
“I don’t think Gomez thinks when he plays. That is what makes him a good player, and I say that respectfully,” Corbin said. “He just plays the game and lets it come to him.”
Right now, Gomez is making the most of what is being thrown at him — and swinging back at it. The right-handed hitter is riding a 21-game hitting streak as No. 1 Vanderbilt begins a three-game series at Auburn (15-10) at 6 p.m. Friday.
It is the second lengthy hitting streak in as many years for the sophomore. Last season, he compiled a 14-game hitting streak during a superb first year that garnered freshman All-American honors.
Still, the Nutley, N.J., native shrugs off the importance of his streak.
"It is just something that it happens but I really don’t worry about it. You just have to take it for what it is worth and it is more important that we keep winning games,” he said. “I think it just goes back to our approach. Every day that you get in there, you got to get your swings in and try to keep the same approach every day and compete.”
Gomez has helped the Commodores (23-3) reach the top of the rankings. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder is currently second on the team with 37 hits and a .343 batting average. He is 21 RBIs are tied for the most on the team.
“He is an amazing player. He is absolutely amazing,” redshirt sophomore infielder Sam Lind said. “He is so fun to watch play and watch hit, especially. First pitch, I swear his batting average has to be .800 on the first pitch. He hardly falls behind. He is a great hitter. ... He doesn’t play with fear ever and he just has swagger.”
One can’t blame Gomez for being a little confident, especially considering he has struck out just three times. Plus, he has walked only once, which means in 105 of his 108 at-bats he has put the ball in play.
“He has been very consistent,” Corbin said. “He has really been our key guy at the plate. There are some RBIs behind all those hits too. I know he has a streak but we are not much into streaks ... as long as he can provide us some punch too.”
The streak, in fact, almost was snapped. It was over for one day.
In a close call on a ball sliced down the left side against Arkansas on Sunday, an error initially was given to the Razorbacks. At Vanderbilt’s request, the play was reviewed and overturned on Monday.
“I thought it was an error,” Gomez said after Tuesday’s 10-3 victory over Tennessee-Martin. “So you just got to take it for what it is worth. It doesn’t really change anything coming into [the next] game. I just wanted to help the team out again [Tuesday], do whatever I can.”
Even if that means not to think.