Air Force senior outfielder Nathan Carter still hadn’t fully grasped that he will be in the NCAA baseball record book for a while, after getting the 33rd triple of his career on Thursday against BYU to set the Division I career mark. He should get used to it – the old record of 32 (set by Indiana State’s Bob Zeihen) had stood since 1988.
“It’s kind of shocking,” Carter said. “I didn’t think about it until a couple weeks ago when someone told me. It’s a great accomplishment.”
Carter said he would be more excited to set the record had Air Force won more games this season, but his teammates recognized the moment, and greeted the Falcons’ captain with hugs after he set the record.
Carter said he has hit so many triples in part because of his approach. He said when he hits the ball in the gap, he takes a long route between first and second base, allowing him to get a good read on whether he can make it to third, and then he can take a sharp angle around second base when he decides to go for it. Also, his mental approach leads to a few extra triples.
“Right off the bat, I’m thinking triple the whole way,” Carter said.
That’s what happened when he hit the ball down the left field line in the third inning against the Cougars. He saw the outfielder picking the ball up at the wall and knew it would be a close play if he wanted to go for the record.
“I saw him grab it, I was rounding second like, ‘Do I do it?’” Carter said. “I just took off. Thankfully I made it.”