For one college team, the hits (by pitch) just keep on coming
According to their uniforms, the Delaware State Hornets' colors are red and blue. But if you go by the record book, they should be black and blue. The Hornets broke the NCAA team hit-by-pitch season record this year, getting plunked a collective 152 times in 58 games. It's no fluke that they lead the nation in this scrappiest of statistics. Coach J.P. Blandin, with the help of new hitting coach Russ Steinhorn, set out to instill a "get on base at any cost" mentality this year. "We're not teaching them to lean out in front of pitches; we're just teaching them not to get out of the way," Blandin says. The Hornets have been hit more than twice as many times as they were last season, and that helped them earn a team OBP of .423—second in D-I—and their best winning percentage (.690) since Blandin took over the program in 2001. Though getting walloped by a fastball doesn't carry the same glory as, say, belting a home run, Delaware State's players wear their bruises as badges of honor. Senior infielder Scott Davis (above), who tops the NCAA in this punishing stat this season, having been hit 37 times (tying the alltime record), is proud of his mark—and his marks. "It shows you'll do what it takes," he says.