Murdock Shines in Senior Season
By Kimberly Medina
It might be in her nature as a person, but Britton Murdock is also a selfless softball player. She doesn't put in extra hours a week hitting and improving her game only for herself. She does it for her team.
A consistent offensive producer, Murdock is committed to her hitting and says she is focused in every at-bat.
"I take every at bat very seriously because numbers don't lie," Murdock said. "If you're on base a lot then that means you're doing something right."
Murdock takes a two-fold approach to her hitting.
"I'll work to get on base so that my teammates can drive me in or I'll work to do the same for them," she said. "I don't ever want to throw away an at bat or a pitch."
Throughout her career, Murdock has always done extra work on her own. She would find a place to hit three times a week in addition to her practice and school schedule at Nevada.
"I know that a lot of my success has come out of my extra work," she said. "You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't work hard and don't put it to good use then it doesn't do you any good."
Nevada head coach Matt Meuchel has coached Murdock for the last four years and says she has worked hard to get her game to where it is.
"She's one of those kids that comes out every day and gives you everything she's got," Meuchel said. "She's able to do things that a lot of people might just pass off as talent, but it really comes down to her work ethic and her maturity."
Hitting is one of the hardest things to do, Murdock says, so she tries to stay positive when she's playing.
"Hitting is like nothing else," she said. "When I'm at the plate, I just try to keep it really simple and positive. It's hard when you get into kind of a hitting slump to eliminate the negatives."
Murdock has started every game this season. She has a .364 average which is the second highest on the team. She has seven doubles, two home runs and has scored 14 runs in 2011.
"It's an honor to coach someone like Britton," Meuchel said. "She's someone that comes out and gets better every day. She's someone that came into this program as a really good offensive player and she's continued to develop at the college level."
A product of Reno, Murdock started playing baseball when she was 8 years old. Realizing it presented her with more of a future, her dad encouraged the switch to softball. A standout at Reno HS, Murdock was also a travel player for a team based out of California.
"I'd have to commute to Hayward, Calif.," Murdock said. "There wasn't a competitive Nevada team when I was playing, but in order to get recruited, I had to go to go over to California to play.
"It was a sacrifice, she said. "It took up a lot of time."
Murdock decided to play softball at Nevada so she would be close to home and her family.
"I chose to stay here because I have two little sisters and I wanted to play in front of my family," she said. "I thought by playing here they could come watch every home game."
As a freshman and sophomore, Murdock was a part of two WAC Championship teams in 2008 and 2009. The leadership from the upperclassmen during her early years at Nevada helped to set an example for her.
"We had a lot of older girls and they showed us the way, being an upperclassman now, we're trying to show the younger girls," she said. "Winning the WAC is just an amazing feeling. You're number one and that's awesome."
The team was ranked in the national polls, 19th in 2008 and 25th in 2009, which Murdock said was awesome knowing that they had a chance at the national title.
Throughout her years, she said her overall game has improved. She started out as designated hitter her freshman year, but then she started playing center field and defense and making that more of a priority. Murdock has one of the highest field percentages on the team this season at .973.
"It (my game) got up to the caliber that my hitting was at when I first got here," she said.
One of Murdock's favorite memories from her four years at Nevada was playing in the NCAA Regional's her freshman year. The team beat Purdue to advance to the Championship game where they lost to UCLA.
"It (Purdue) was definitely the biggest win of my life," Murdock said. "We were so close to Super Regionals, I mean one out away, that was kind of heart breaking."
Adding to her career highlights, Murdock was selected to be a part of the Nevada Baseball team's exhibition game with the Reno Aces on April 5.
"I'm excited," she said. "It's an experience; I mean it's something that I'll remember forever."
Although Murdock won't be playing for Nevada anymore, her softball career isn't over at the season's end.
"This summer, I'm going to play softball in Belgium and I come back the day before school starts," Murdock said.
Murdock will graduate in May 2012 with a degree in Psychology.
"One of the reasons I went an extra year was so I didn't have to overload my schedule so that I can get a good GPA to go to graduate school," she said.
Because she wants to help others, she is looking into a graduate program for counseling those with substance abuse.
Wolf Pack softball's WAC play began at Boise State. Murdock says she is excited for her last season.
"This team has really great chemistry, especially since I've played on teams that have been very successful," she said. "This is a season that we will get a lot of positives out of. We're looking for another WAC Championship."
After just a few minutes with Murdock, anyone can tell that she is selfless, dedicated and a true team player. She will be missed on the Nevada softball team.
Medina is a student-intern in the media services department at the University of Nevada. A former Wolf Pack student-athlete, she is fulfilling her required journalism internship credit with the athletics department this Spring.