05/05/2004 12:31 PM ET
Lawhorn twins making noise at East Carolina
By Chris Gigley / Special to MLB.com
Darryl and Trevor Lawhorn look alike, talk alike, and occasionally even dress alike. But most important to East Carolina University and the 30 Major League teams preparing for the First-Year Player draft on June 7, they hit alike.
|Trevor (left) and Darryl Lawhorn could both be drafted on June 7 out of ECU. (Courtesy of ECU)
"We have similar styles of play," said Darryl. "We both play the full nine innings as hard as possible. We're both hard-nosed ballplayers."
Off the field, however, the Lawhorns are far more relaxed. Trevor is quick to smile and laugh, while Darryl is polite and more formal. In conversation, an unspoken unison flows between them -- they complement each other's answers and never interrupt one another. Has the telepathic nature of twinhood come in handy on the field?
"There are situations when I know Darryl will hit a home run, but I'm not sure about all that telepathic stuff,' said Trevor, recently named as a semifinalist for the Dick Howswer Trophy, awarded to the best college player by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
"With him in right field and me at second base, we're probably more aware of each other when a fly ball is hit our way."
Double-takes are also required on the stat sheet. Trevor's first season with the Pirates is similar to his brother's two years ago. The latter transferred from tiny Barton College in 2002 and was redshirted last season when Barton wouldn't release him from his commitment.
Baseball America named Darryl Co-Freshman of the Year in 2002, when he batted .416 with 19 home runs and 64 RBIs. He followed up with a solid sophomore year, hitting .332 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs. Hitting cleanup behind his brother, Darryl has helped Trevor explode on the scene. After 51 games, Trevor was batting .311 with 20 home runs and 61 RBIs.
"Hitting in front of Darryl, I've gotten a lot of good pitches to hit," said Trevor. "But now I'm starting to see the same breaking stuff Darryl's seeing."
This has been a season of adjustments for Darryl. He has essentially sacrificed his numbers for the team, forcing opponents to pitch not only to Trevor, but also to other teammates such as outfielder Ryan Jones, who has 18 home runs and an .891 slugging percentage. In his first 47 games, Darryl hit .318 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs. More indicative of his season is his walk total, which exceeds his strikeouts.
ECU manager Randy Mazey says Darryl is a quiet leader who leads by example. He isn't surprised Darryl has handled this season with patience and grace.
"People still pitch around him just because of his name," said Mazey. "He's done a great job handling Trevor's success."
Intensity and focus have helped the Lawhorns overcome the changes they've faced this year. After spending last summer in different college summer leagues, they both know they'll need it when they start hitting with wood bats full time.
"Every pitcher threw in the 90s and lived inside, and if you didn't get the barrel on the ball your hands would be stinging," said Darryl of his summer in the Cape Cod League, where he showed power with five home runs and 19 RBIs. "Better baseball is played with wood bats. You get more of a small-ball type of game with more strategy."
This season, they've managed to keep their focus on the game despite a 19-game winning streak earlier in the season, attention from the media and other distractions. During an early-season matchup against conference-rival Charlotte, for instance, Trevor led off the fifth inning with the score tied 3-3. As he and Darryl warmed up in the on-deck circle, a heckler on the other side of the fence nagged at them.
"Hey Darryl, is that your brother?" goaded the heckler. "Do you two share clothes?"
The questions kept coming, but the Lawhorns were oblivious. Trevor went to bat and drove the first pitch he saw over the left field wall. Darryl followed with a single and eventually scored.
Both have been equally adept at blocking out the Major League scouts who have followed the Lawhorns all season. Darryl insisted that their full attention is on the Conference USA and NCAA tournaments.
"When the time comes to deal with the draft, we will," Darryl said. "Right now, we just want to focus on the task at hand."
That goes for both of them.
Chris Gigley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.