Former Westminster Christian star and current Vanderbilt first baseman Julian Infante is getting hot at the right time.
Infante, who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 36th round, went 6 for 12 with three doubles, three home runs, and six RBIs in three wins helping the Commodores claim the Nashville Regional and he was named Regional MVP.
“It was great,” Infante said. “It was cool because honestly it felt good to be playing a little bit more like I know I can and it was cool to help the team in the way that I did. It’s one more step towards our ultimate goal.”
Infante, the Commodores’ No. 9 hitter, has a hit in all seven postseason games going back to the SEC Tournament and is hitting .393 (11 for 28) with three home runs and eight RBIs during that span, raising his batting average to .246 with 11 homers.
Vanderbilt (52-10), the No. 2 national seed, will host Duke (34-25) in the best-of-3 Super Regionals beginning on Friday (6:00 p.m., ESPN2) with the winner advancing to the College World Series. Vanderbilt’s last CWS appearance was in 2015, a year after their first national title.
The Commodores are one of the nation’s hottest teams winning 12 in a row and 25 of their last 26.
“We still have a long ways to go,” Infante said. “I think the main thing is focusing on every single day and trying to get better every single day—a lot of it is that and it’s just having fun every single day with each other and understanding the value of that rather than thinking about outcomes in the future or past successes, but more focused on the present. I think because we do that’s what leads to success. We’re not taking anything for granted.”
One of the catalysts for the Commodores has been outfielder J.J. Bleday, who has hit a nation-best 26 home runs and was selected fourth overall also by the Marlins.
“J.J. is a special guy with the way he handles adversity, success, failures, whatever it is, he’s super consistent,” Infante said. “His work ethic is incredible, very focused, he knows what he’s doing, and the way he’s able to stay in the present is something he does
better than anybody I’ve ever had as a
Infante is hoping his final year at Vanderbilt will end in similar
fashion to his final
season at Westminster Christian, winning a state championship as a senior in 2015.
“I had a great time in high school,” Infante said. “We had a special team and we had a lot of fun. We just had so much together. I was there since elementary school so those guys were family to me and still are. The coaches texted me this week checking in on me. It was great winning a championship with basically family and the relationships we had were amazing.”
Infante plans to have family members make the trip to Nashville this weekend to show their support.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have them come visit a lot,” Infante said. “It’s been great.”
They are hoping to see him in Omaha later this month.