Daily Egyptian

Logan Blackfan, SIU’s biggest bat

Southern+Illinois+senior+infielder+Logan+Blackfan+runs+to+third+base+Saturday%2C+March+10%2C+2018%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+7-2+victory+against+the+Northern+Illinois+University+Huskies+at+Itchy+Jones+Stadium.+%28Brian+Munoz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
Southern Illinois senior infielder Logan Blackfan runs to third base Saturday, March 10, 2018, during the Salukis' 7-2 victory against the Northern Illinois University Huskies at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Southern Illinois senior infielder Logan Blackfan runs to third base Saturday, March 10, 2018, during the Salukis' 7-2 victory against the Northern Illinois University Huskies at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Brian Munoz

Brian Munoz

Southern Illinois senior infielder Logan Blackfan runs to third base Saturday, March 10, 2018, during the Salukis' 7-2 victory against the Northern Illinois University Huskies at Itchy Jones Stadium. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Dillon Gilliland, Sports Reporter

While others are aiming for contact and getting on base, senior first baseman Logan Blackfan is busy clearing the bases and sending the ball deep over the wall.

From Memphis, Tennessee, the senior was an outdoorsman from birth. Although he says that his dad was not interested in the outdoor life, Blackfan stated that he took right to it.

“If I’m not on the baseball field, I’m usually hunting or fishing with my friends,” Blackfan said. “I’m a real easy-going person.”

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The outdoor life does not run in the family, however, athleticism does as the first baseman’s two younger brothers competed in a variety of sports in school such as basketball, football and baseball.

The senior said his dad was his main influence on him when it came to baseball.

“I look up to him a lot,” Blackfan said. “He stayed on me and pushed me to be the best player I could be.”

Baseball created a connection that Blackfan shared with his dad from a very early age.

“I’ve played ever since I could remember,” Blackfan said. “Ever since I could walk I was in the backyard with dad playing.”

Blackfan attended Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee where he not only played baseball but also played fullback in football. Due to minor injuries in the sport, he decided to drop football his junior year and pursue America’s favorite pastime.

In his time of playing high school baseball, Blackfan experienced success including two-time All-Metro selections, Second Team All-State honors and a second-place finish in the state championship game, his favorite high school memory.

“At Houston High School, we had a very good baseball program,” Blackfan said. “Expectations on us were very high, it was just cool to live out those expectations.”

Several schools wanted Blackfan to play for their program, including Murray State and South Alabama. He said he chose SIU because it was the first school to offer him a scholarship and because of the new field and coaches.

“SIU was the first school to offer, so it meant a lot,” Blackfan said. “Plus, they were getting this new beautiful field, so my mind was set.”

The senior said the transition from high school to Division I play is one of the biggest transitions he has experienced in baseball.

“The game is played a lot faster,” Blackfan. “You have to be ready to play. I adapted pretty quickly and I can thank the seniors of my freshman year for that.”

As far as the higher level of pitching goes, the first baseman said he was ready and it just came down to staying confident and swinging at good pitches.

In Blackman’s freshman year, he put up solid numbers including .244 average with 16 RBI, 43 hits, 19 doubles and a home run through 52 games in the Salukis’ 12-46 season.

“It was a great experience to get to play that much as a freshman,” Blackfan said. “Also, to get to contribute as much as I did.”

After a successful freshman season, Blackfan began to settle into the cleanup spot in the lineup as a power hitter, a role he has played all his life.

“I’ve played in the middle of the lineup my whole life,” Blackfan said. “I knew this was the role I was going to take and this is the hitter I need to be and am.”

During his sophomore year, the senior appeared to find his groove as his batting average jumped to .296 with 50 RBI, 64 hits, 23 doubles and six homers through 57 games. That stat line earned him First-Team All-MVC, MVC Scholar-Athlete First-Team and an MVC All-Defensive Team selection in the Salukis 31-25-1 season.

“It was an exciting year,” Blackfan said. “We had the same team and we knew were better than 12 wins so we just wanted to go out and have fun.”

His junior year, Blackfan said he was not performing like he hoped to be as his numbers dropped to a .215 batting average, with 29 RBI, 12 doubles, 45 hits and four homers through 55 games.

“It was just a series of unfortunate of events for me last year,” Blackfan said. “I was just swinging at bad pitches and getting down on myself.”

Despite a down year, the first baseman still managed to put his name in the Saluki history books, as he broke the school record with most doubles in a series against Illinois State. At the time of writing, Blackfan currently has 57 career doubles.

“With me struggling last year it was definitely a high point for me,” Blackfan said. ” I just hope to put that record out of reach and hold it for a very long time.”

Thus far this year, the senior has bounced back tremendously and is maintaining a batting average of .346 with 22 RBI, 28 hits, three doubles and five home runs through just 20 games. He also leads the conference in homers and is third in RBI.

“I brought in a whole new mindset,” Blackfan said. “Whatever happens, it’s baseball and I just want to have fun with it and enjoy my last year.”

Head coach Ken Henderson suggested that the first baseman has changed in the fact that he does not put as much pressure on himself as he did in the previous year.

“He’s always had the tools,” Henderson said. “He just tried to do too much last year.”

With only two returning position players on the team, Blackfan and senior shortstop Connor Kopach were expected to step into the leadership roles of the team.

“I’m not a super vocal guy,” Blackfan said. “I like to lead by example and play as hard as I can.”

Fellow teammate Kenton Crawford expressed his trust in Blackfan as a good leader on the team.

“He is a really good leader,” junior right fielder Kenton Crawford said. “He pushes us to get better on and off the field.”

With his time winding down at Southern, Blackfan said the thing he will miss the most is his teammates.

“The guys I’ve met and became best friends with, I’ll miss the most,” Blackfan said. “The memories I’ve made here at SIU, I will never forget.”

Currently, Blackfan is listed as an exercise science major and will use his degree as a way to remain in athletics.

“I want to work close to baseball,” Blackfan said. “I definitely want to work with athletes, especially baseball players.”

Blackfan said if his degree does not work out, he will consider coaching.

“Teams want guys who know what they’re doing to come in and help,” Blackfan said. “So if things didn’t work out, coaching, maybe hitting coach, would definitely be an option.”

His teammates have stated that he has a true love for the game and is fully dedicated to it.

“He plays competitive all the time,” Crawford said. “He has a real passion for the game.”

Sports reporter Dillon Gilliland can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @DillonGilliland.

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