Nine months and four days ago, Mitch Canham played his final game in a Beaver uniform at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. The Beavers knew it would be hard to replace guys like Mitch and Darwin Barney in their lineup, but they didn't know who would step up to the chalenge.
Mitch finished last season with a team-leading .326 batting average with ten home runs. He had 74 hits in 227 at-bats and scored 52 runs. In the 2007 campaign, Mitch played in 65 of OSU's 67 games, but only started 58. His backup for most of the season, Erik Ammon, started in 11 games and played in a total of 20. Erik had a total of 25 at-bats compared to Ryan Ortiz's 4. Ryan, the #3 catcher, was hitless for the season, while Erik recorded four hits for a batting average of .160.
However, in the 2008 season, Ryan has earned a starting spot behind the plate due to his presence at the plate. Ryan has started 13 games this season compared to Erik's four, and leads the team with three home runs, two of those home runs being grand slams.
Ryan is currently riding a nine game hitting streak that started two weeks ago in Reno versus the Nevada Wolfpack. On the hitting streak, Ortiz is hitting .425 (17 for 40) with 12 runs scored, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, and 25 RBI's. Seven of those RBI's came in one game, the first game of last Saturday's doubleheader that was a continuation of Friday's rainout. He was 3-for-4 in that game with two doubles and a grand slam.
In addition to his great bating numbers, he has a .984 fielding percentage with only two errors so far this season.
On the season, Ryan is hitting .362 with 21 hits in 58 at-bats. He's scored 15 runs, has six doubles, a triple, and three home runs. His 28 RBI's lead the team. If you compare his hitting streak (the last nine games) to the first nine games of the season, you'll see that almost all of his production has come in the latter half of the season:
In addition to being selected as BTD's player of the week (take a bow, dude), Ryan was also nominated as the Pac-10 player of the week.
Best of luck to you, Ryan, as Pac-10 play approaches.