UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Nittany Lion senior outfielder Aaron Novak is in the top ten for batting average, on-base-percentage, and slugging percentage in the nation, and the Ambler, Pa. native is an early Player of the Year candidate, he spoke with College Baseball Central on Monday.
“I’m not really thinking about Player of the Year at all. I wanted to come out my senior year and leave everything on the table,” Novak said. “It feels good to be able to contribute to the team.”
Novak’s hot bat carried a nice hitting streak, which was brought to an end Friday in a 4-2 loss against West Carolina at nine games. He has been a bright spot in a season that has started out rough for PSU as they sit with a 1-13 record.
“Over the last two games we have made a choice to play each inning harder,” Novak pointed out. We are going to leave everything out on the field.”
Interestingly enough, the 6 feet 190 pound Novak, did not start the season in the starting lineup. After starting 41-of-42 games his freshman year, in which he tallied 31 hits and 17 RBIs, his sophomore and junior years experienced a drop off.
Nevertheless, Novak got back up on the horse and did what it took to improve as a player, and came into his senior season ready to challenge for a spot. Now, not only is he a top of the lineup hitter on head coach Rob Coopers team, but he is a top hitter in the nation, batting .419, with three home runs, 10 RBI, 18 hits, three doubles, a .698 slugging percentage, and an OBP of .490.
“I made some adjustments in my stance making sure to put my foot down,” Novak explained. “I have decided to be more consistent, and keep a good approach at the plate. If it’s a strike I’m looking to swing. When you’re confident you have a better chance of success at the plate.”
Whatever adjustment Novak made, it’s paying off now. The talented slugger is one of the most carefully pitched batters not only in the Big Ten, but in the country. It’s great to see a story like Novak’s unfold, and it is a story still being told, nevertheless, you have to cheer for a guy that pulls up his boots and fights back against adversity.
Baseball is notorious for adversity; every player faces it at some point in their own separate way. Novak has adversity in a choke hold.