By Molly Hulsey
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Aaron Senne has always dreamt of seeing his name in shining lights on the Metrodome scoreboard, as he led his home team, the Minnesota Twins, to victory.
Cut to March 2008. The Rochester, Minn. native stands at bat underneath the Metrodome lights, poised for the best game of his career. He will hit two home runs, tie a school record with eight RBI, and go 4-for-4 from the plate. However, he is not playing for his favorite Twins, although they drafted him out of high school. He is not even playing for his home state Minnesota Gophers, even though they recruited him. Senne stands in the Metrodome as a Missouri Tiger.
The opportunities that led Senne, a senior first baseman, to Mizzou were unexpected, but he has no regrets. He’s not in the majors; he’s not in the Big Ten. He’s a Big 12 baseball player and couldn’t be happier.
“It was difficult, because attending the University of Minnesota offered me a chance to stay close to home and close to my family and friends,” Senne said. “What really lured me to Mizzou was the opportunity to play in the Big 12 conference as well as the fact that I instantly fell in love with the school and the coaches here.”
Senne had his pick of schools to attend. Recruited by UCLA, Stanford, Nebraska, and his home-state University of Minnesota, among others, he had ample opportunities for the future after a stellar high school career. His career batting average of .505, 28 home runs, and 1.62 ERA helped propel his team to conference championships in 2004 and 2005, and earned him a spot on Street & Smith’s Top 50 Junior Prospects in the Nation list.
Senne also had looks from professional organizations. Before his freshman season at Mizzou, the Minnesota Twins selected him in the 13th round of the MLB draft. His decision to attend college instead, however, came with no regrets.
“Once or twice I’ve thought about what it would have been like to have signed a professional contract out of high school,” Senne said. “After the past 3 and a half years, I am very glad that I decided to come to school instead. The relationships I’ve made, the memories I will have forever, and the degree I am going to come out of here with are all very important to me and are a part of the college experience that I did not want to miss out on.”
As a freshman, Senne had to adjust quickly to the quick pace and competition, and made an instant impact on the team. He led the team in doubles (17), and came through in important situations for the Tigers, with home runs in each of the last two games of the NCAA Regional. Each year, he has continued to improve, and his expectations for the team have risen as well.
One thing that has been difficult for Senne and his teammates is the result of each of their NCAA Regional appearances. Although they have made it to the last seven, only one has resulted in a victory, something Senne thinks can change in his senior season.
“It has definitely been frustrating for me to not yet play past a regional tournament with some of the great teams that we’ve had,” Senne said. “That just shows that not only have you got to make the tournament but also get hot at the right time. I think the team that we have this year is very capable of moving past a regional tournament. We’re young and very talented, and I could definitely see us peaking at the right time.”
This Tigers team is certainly young—Senne is one of only two seniors on the team, and there are 13 freshmen on the team. This brings a freshness to the team that Senne thinks can help them over the course of the season, however.
“I like our team chemistry and youthfulness,” he said. “Everyone is playing for the team to win each game. When we start getting hot and our younger players get more comfortable at this level I think we could be a very dangerous team.”