With improved vision, Trenkle fuels offense as OSU sweeps UTRGV

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OSU right fielder Caeden Trenkle (28) celebrates with third baseman Jake Thompson (17) and left fielder Carson McCusker (12) after hitting a home run during the Oklahoma State vs. Texas-Rio Grande Valley baseball game on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater.

Caeden Trenkle no longer has blurry vision on the baseball field.

When he steps up to the plate, he can notice the spin and location of a pitch headed his direction. If he makes contact with enough power, then he can track the ball to see if it sails out of the park.

Trenkle, an Oklahoma State freshman outfielder, led the Cowboys to an 8-4 victory against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Sunday in Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

OSU (5-2) secured a sweep of the Vaqueros, and Trenkle can thank his new contact lenses for helping him bolster the Cowboys’ offense.

“I got contacts two days ago, right before the series started,” Trenkle said. “And that really helped change things, so now I’m seeing the ball well and feeling really good about my swing.”

Coach Josh Holliday said when the Cowboys were headed back from their season-opening trip to Arizona, Trenkle mentioned that he wasn’t able to see the ball clearly. Trenkle had grown up going to an eye doctor, but he hadn’t worn contacts in high school. With gradually worsening vision, Trenkle realized he needed some correction if he wanted to be competitive against high-caliber pitchers.

“It was real fuzzy for me, so it was kind of harder to focus on everything,” Trenkle said.

His sharper view of the game made a difference as he faced the Vaqueros (2-5). He hit the first home run of his college career Saturday, and he followed with another home run, this time a two-RBI blast, in the last game of the series. Trenkle finished with a team-high four RBI on Sunday.

OSU catcher Brock Mathis described Trenkle as "unbelievable."

“You don’t see that from a freshman, right?” Mathis said. “And what he’s doing is just tremendous to the team.”

Trenkle and the Cowboys came back from a deficit to seal their sweep. UTRGV jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth, but Trenkle’s home run to left field in the bottom of that inning scored Jake Thompson, cutting the Vaqueros’ advantage to 3-2.

In the seventh, when OSU led 5-3, Trenkle cranked a two-RBI triple down the right field line to give the Cowboys a more comfortable advantage. Then he crossed home plate on Carson McCusker’s sacrifice fly to center field, putting OSU up 8-3.

“He plays with a lot of confidence,” Holliday said. “And it’s a quiet confidence, but it’s a real confidence, and so I think the guys already believe in him and trust him a lot. He’s earned that from just being an awesome kid.”

Trenkle, from Hillsboro, Texas, is batting .357 through seven games. He had a .167 batting average at the end of the Arizona trip, but the series against UTRGV boosted his stats. Although facing college pitchers can be a daunting task for a freshman, Trenkle said he thinks his improved vision can aid his progress.

“I think the joy in his face when he said, ‘I can see the ball spinning better now,’” Holliday said, “that’s great.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com