TAMPA, Fla. – Outfielder Jordan Lala is one of the most dominant players in the Sunshine State Conference since transferring back home from the University of Miami.
The leadoff batter has a .361 batting average to go along with 35 stolen bases since joining the University of Tampa Spartans in 2021.
“He’s the catalyst of our offence,” Spartans head coach Joe Urso said. “When he gets on base there’s just so many ways I can run the offence to score a run.”
Now in his senior year, the 23-year-old outfielder understands how he can be the best version of himself on the baseball field.
“I kinda stay with the same philosophy, I trust myself, I trust my hands, and I kinda look for a fastball, something I can drive,” Lala said.
After hitting .357 in his first year with the Spartans, teams started picking up on Lala’s tendencies and changed their approach. It hasn’t helped.
“I’ve definitely been seeing a lot more off-speed,” Lala said. “But I still don’t change the way I approach the plate and the at-bat.” He’s raised his batting average this season to .371.
Lala’s excellence is recognized across the SSC. He was just awarded the Player of the Week after posting a .412 average, hitting a home run and stealing five bases over four games.
His speed also helps him tremendously on defence. In 80 games with the Spartans, the centre-fielder has a fielding percentage of .984. That could also be attributed to a yearly visitor at fall camp for the Spartans.
New Blue Jays centre-fielder Kevin Kiermaier trains with the Spartans every year and serves as a mentor to the No. 2-ranked Division II team in the nation.
“We’re always picking his brain… He helps us so much,” Lala said. “Obviously he’s won many Gold Gloves so [Kiermaier’s] got a lot of information in the field that he teaches us.”