Cydney Curran isn’t necessarily trying to hit triples. The few times she does specifically go for them, you can tell, Cal State Bakersfield softball coach Crissy Buck-Ziegler said. But Curran, CSUB’s starting shortstop, is the best in the nation at getting three bases in one swing.
“She’s hitting gap-to-gap,” Buck-Ziegler said. “With her speed, the minute it gets in the gap, she has the ability to run so she’s not doing anything crazy.”
Curran’s 0.31 triples per game this season is the best average in all of Division I. Her nine triples have her tied for first and the only other player with nine — Louisville’s Celene Funke — has played in five more games.
Curran’s simplified approach at the plate paid off and is leading the Roadrunners. CSUB (13-16, 2-1 Western Athletic Conference) will play a three-game series at conference-leading Grand Canyon (23-14, 5-1) starting Friday.
“She’s seeing the ball well. She’s throwing her hands at it. She’s trusting the work she’s been putting in,” said Roadrunners catcher Karah Wiseman, who occasionally bats second behind Curran. “... She’s dangerous when she’s on the base paths.”
If she hits a high shot toward one of the gaps, Curran knows right away she’s going for three bases. If it’s a low line drive over the middle infield, she just charges around the bases until her coach tells her to stop.
CSUB’s home field is probably big enough for Curran to hit an inside-the-park home run, Buck-Ziegler said. Wiseman just did so at Fresno State.
According to Curran, a teammate and her coach, she is noticeably faster this season than her first two at CSUB. Curran credited the strength and conditioning program she followed during the summer, which was based on directions from CSUB director of sport performance Brendon Ziegler (husband of Buck-Ziegler).
“That freshman 20 hit me very hard,” Curran said with a laugh when asked if she is quicker. “So, yeah, I feel like it.”
Curran has also been more focused on technical aspects of her swing and what she had to do in the box.
This season, Curran has been more relaxed and more aggressive.
“Whatever pitch that comes at me in my zone, hip high, I’m doing whatever I can to hit it hard,” Curran said.
Curran had no triples in 126 at-bats as a freshman and three in 113 at-bats as a sophomore. She hit .198 and .204 those years, respectively. Her nine this year came in 84 at-bats and her average is up to .345, which is eighth in the WAC.
Because she’s left handed, right-center field is usually the sweet spot to hit one in order to get three bases. She has also hit a few opposite field this year, though.
Curran had two triples in two different games and a span where she had four triples spread across four consecutive games. The entire rest of the Roadrunners team has three triples combined this season.
She also leads the team in batting average (.345), on-base percentage (.375), hits (29) and total bases (49).
No one else in the WAC has more than three triples this year.
“(A triple) puts a lot of pressure on that defense,” Buck-Ziegler said. “It’s so funny that the defenses still play her pretty shallow. They’re not respecting her numbers and she takes advantage of it.”