E.J. Cumbo has emerged as one of the most consistent hitters in the Sunshine State Conference.
Cumbo, In his second season with the University of Tampa Spartans, recently received the SSC player of the week award after hitting .529 avg/.600 on base/.765 OPS during a five-game winning streak.
The consistency of playing regular games for the first time in two years, has helped the East Meadow, N.Y. native find his rhythm at the plate.
“Just staying focused and locking back in,” said Cumbo, this week on a phone call from Tampa. “I’m just feeling a lot better at the plate, seeing the ball better and just not chasing balls out of the strike zone.”
Cumbo’s recent hot streak for the national’s top D II team has propelled him into the SSC’s top 10 in hits, home runs, batting average, and total bases.
His success at the plate should come as no surprise.
Cumbo was an All-American during his last season with New York Institute of Technology in 2019, and after numerous disruptions (COVID and injury) during the past two years, he is once again showing his skills.
Since arriving in Tampa in 2020, Cumbo has been exceptional at the plate, hitting for an average of .389 over his first 55 games.
Key to Cumbo’s development in Tampa has been Joe Urso, who Cumbo believes was a similar player during the coach’s playing days.
“When he played pro ball he was the same build as me, small guy trying to play his heart out on the field,” said Cumbo. “You can only control what you can control and if you play hard, you can have a shot.
“That’s what happened to him and that’s what he’s been doing for me.”
Urso knew that he was getting a special talent when Cumbo joined the Spartans. The outfielder was coming off a sensational season at NYIT in which he hit a league leading .437 average in 46 games.
“Now that’s he healthy and getting the at bats under him, you’re starting to see the E.J. that we saw last year,” Urso said, from Tampa. “This guy is one of the best all round players that we’ve had come through this program.
“He can hit. He can hit with power. He can really run. He just seems to really ignite our offence. When he’s going, it’s fun to watch.”