Memo to opponents who choose to pitch around Mount St. Joseph All-Metro third baseman Mark Teixeira:
Don't let your guard down just yet.
Senior Michael Floyd may be one spot below Teixeira in the lineup, but he has proven to be at least every bit his equal at the plate.
After entering yesterday's game against No. 6 Curley hitting a robust .570, the Gaels' center fielder went 4-for-4, including a two-run homer to left, as No. 3 St. Joe pummeled the host Friars, 19-5, in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game stopped after six innings.
"He's hit the ball real well for us all year long and he continues to do it," said Gaels coach Dave Norton. "He's in a tough spot because a lot of teams are saying, 'Well, we'll pitch around Tex and face the No. 4 man.' "
But that's just the way Floyd likes it.
"I'm just going up there to hit," said the lanky, 6-foot-3 cleanup hitter, who has 32 RBIs in 17 games. "They're looking at Tex, and I'm behind him. If they're going to walk him, I know that I'm going to get strikes. If not, Tex is going to hit the ball hard, so either way we're pretty much going to win."
Yesterday, Floyd was just one of the hitting stars for St. Joe (11-6 overall, 7-1 in the conference), which banged out 15 hits, including three home runs, and drew another 11 walks against six Friars pitchers.
Trailing 1-0, the Gaels took the lead in the second inning on Vince Volpes' three-run homer to center off starter Dan Deming. In all, 12 straight hitters reached base in the eight-run inning.
Floyd and Teixeira also added home runs, as every member of the starting lineup reached base at least twice.
After waiting until the final inning to pull out a 5-4 win over Curley (10-5, 7-3) three weeks ago, the Gaels left nothing to chance this time.
"One of our goals was to put them away if we got the opportunity," Floyd said.
For St. Joe, fresh off a four-game trip to California in which it lost three games by a total of four runs, a blowout was just what the doctor ordered. For Norton, a near-perfect performance by his cleanup hitter wasn't bad either.
"I think a lot of people underestimated him," Norton said of Floyd. "Halfway through the season last year, you could see what a quality ballplayer he was going to be, and he's just picked it up from there on out."
Pub Date: 4/22/98