Matt Johnson’s Big Bat Bolsters SDSU

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BROOKINGS, S.D.  —  Though Matt Johnson and teammate Newt Johnson aren’t related, SDSU has had plenty of fun penciling them into lineup cards.

“Johnson and Johnson company!  But yeah, even our coaches have played along with it.  On the lineup, when they write Johnson and Johnson they put the and sign right in between.”  SDSU Senior Matt Johnson says.

Opposing pitchers haven’t found it to be as enjoyable.

“He’s the guy that everyone that comes in notices when they watch batting practice, when they watch just how he handles himself.  He’s a guy you can’t ignore in our lineup.”  SDSU Head Coach Rob Bishop says.

Matt has been an anchor for the Jacks at first base since coming to SDSU three years ago and winning the Summit’s Freshman of the Year Award.

“I think that’s just kind of key is not being happy with where you’re at.  Just kind of striving to be better.  Going to practice, showing up every day, putting 100 percent into every thing you do.”  Johnson says.

That attitude has helped the Ankeny native finish his career with a flourish.  This season he’s posting career highs with a .333 average, 11 homeruns and 39 RBI, and became the 10th player in program history to reach 200 career hits.

“Great leader, great student, great person.  He makes us better in so many other ways in addition to a bunch of homeruns and a bunch of production.”  Bishop says.

“I think it’s just having confidence in myself and my abilities and just being able to use what I’ve learned over the past couple of years to play the best baseball I can in my last year here at South Dakota State.”  Johnson says.

A season Matt would have even more fun with if he can extend it into the NCAA Tournament.

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