Perhaps it wasn't an obvious question, but it was a valid query given the circumstances.
Southern Miss So. SS B.A. Vollmuth went bananas this weekend at The Reck, hitting the ball with such ferocity (.615/.688/1.615 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs) and fielding with such effortless grace (well, before that huge throwing error in the fourth inning on Sunday) that one had to wonder whether Owls So. 3B Anthony Rendon had taken notice. Before Rendon went 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs in his final four at-bats, Vollmuth had performed like the unquestioned MVP of the series. Obviously, Rendon wasn't about to be shown up.
"That's the competitiveness in me," Rendon said. "I always want to be the best on the field and try to do the best that I can. It was pretty nuts; everything you threw the guy he was hitting."
For the first time since Tulane RS So. 3B Rob Segedin went 7-for-12 with three runs, four RBIs and two homers against the Owls in mid-April, a Conference USA Player of the Year candidate left an impression as indelible as Rendon for a weekend. Vollmuth was exceptional, but like Segedin, came out on the wrong end of the most significant tally - a series victory.
While Rendon (.383/.529/.800 with 21 homers and 66 RBIs) and Segedin (.436/.519/.810 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs) continue to run 1-2 on my ballot, Vollmuth (.380/.487/.677 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs) vaulted past UCF Sr. OF Chris Duffy and East Carolina Sr. 1B/DH Kyle Roller with his all-around excellence this weekend. One week remains in the regular season and, with the Owls having already clinched the top seed in the C-USA tournament, Rendon appears to have the edge over Segedin, whose Green Wave could fail to qualify for the event. Should Tulane not make it Rendon, the far superior defensive player, should win his second consecutive C-USA POY honor. Rendon certainly cast an imposing figure this weekend.
With his second home run on Sunday, Rendon surpassed the 20 homers he launched while earning national freshman of the year honors. In fact, Rendon is trending toward besting the numbers he posted last season (.388/.461/.702 with 20 homers and 72 RBIs in 61 games), totals that exceeded all expectations he had of himself. So Rendon, are you surprised again?
"Especially since I have like 50 walks (a league-leading 55 to be precise), that's pretty crazy. I didn't think that I could do this much," Rendon said of his stats. "I wanted to come out here and try not to bat like .280. I wanted to have a good average because I know pitchers are going to pitch me differently and I knew I was going to start swinging more because I would start to get anxious. I guess it kind of clicked in my head that I can't try to do too much."