Matt Dipasupil has been a work in progress this year for JMU.
The junior middle-infielder has gone from playing off the bench to batting .302. On Tuesday, when facing the University of Virginia in a rare home matchup at Eagle Field, Dipasupil was locked in and provided only the second hit of the evening for the Dukes.
Dipasupil started this season on the bench but has worked his way into the team’s starting lineup. Everything from his plays on second base to his plate appearances have improved with time. His recent play when up to bat is credited to the experience he's gotten since the beginning of the season.
“In the beginning of the year, I wasn’t starting,” Dipasupil said. “My at-bats were real sporadic.”
The New Jersey native’s recent knowledge at the plate has become evident on the stat sheet; he currently boasts a six-game hitting streak. The growing streak is one thing, but one game in particular has stuck with players and coaches alike when looking back on where Matt’s performance took off in the current season.
On March 23, over a month after Opening Day, Dipasupil went from silent to steady. Against CAA rival Delaware, he went 4-for-4 at the plate and set his current season highs for hits, triples and RBIs for a single game.
“It was kind of the game where I was able to break out,” Dipasupil said. “Ever since then, I’ve kind of tried to build off of that.”
JMU junior infielder Fox Semones recalls the Delaware game well, saying that it was the moment in the season where Dipasupil really started rolling for the first time on the year. But while he was proud of his teammate, he didn’t see anything different from Dipasupil’s play at that point from when the season began.
“I’ve always thought he could do it from day one,” Semones said. “It’s always in the back of my head, like I’m waiting for him to get his opportunity because I know he can go out there and do what he’s been doing.”
For a season where Dipasupil started on the bench, his numbers have been impressive since coming off of it. In 53 at-bats, he has 16 hits, nine RBIs, a double and a triple. With 21 games left on the year, those numbers have potential to grow.
“Every time I come out to the field, it’s all about doing whatever I can do to help the team win,” Dipasupil said. “I love these guys to death; these are my ride-or-die guys.”
While his play on the field has been undoubtedly impressive, Dipasupil has also been credited for being just as much of a positive influence away from the infield as he is on it. JMU head coach Marlin Ikenberry had only good things to say about his second basemen, describing Dipasupil as a “silent leader” and someone the team “flocks to on and off the field.”
“Matt’s a great team player,” Ikenberry said. “We voted on team captains and he’s the one that got the most votes.”
Every second baseman needs to have good chemistry with his shortstop, and there’s no shortage of that between Dipasupil and Semones. The junior shortstop, like his coach, only had positive comments regarding his teammate.
“We’ve both been here for three years,” Semones said. “He’s one of my best friends on the team.”
While the start of the season may have been challenging for Dipasupil, the way he’s approaching the final stretch of the season has made the beginning irrelevant. As he looks to keep the hitting streak alive and his play sharp, Dipasupil has been a motivating force behind JMU baseball as a whole in the 2019 season. His recent success, according to his coach and teammates, is well-earned.
“I always say the game knows,” Ikenberry said. “He put in the time and he had to pay his dues… and then when the bell rang, he answered it.”
Contact Jordan Simal at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more baseball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.