It’s crunchtime for baseball
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 09:03
With 10 games to go and two more in-conference series left, the Wolf Pack finds themselves on the outside looking in for the conference tournament.
After getting swept in a three-game series against the University of Mobile the team is now ranked eleventh in the Southern States Athletic Conference with a conference record of 2-7. This puts them three places out of qualifying for the conference tournament, which takes the top eight teams.
“Being right there doesn’t get it done,” coach Doug Faust said. “We gotta win two out of three.”
This past weekend the team lost all three games by scores of 5-8, 1-4 and 2-13. The team’s common theme of giving up runs after taking a lead or tying continued. The pitching staff gave up 20 runs in the 14 innings after they tied or took the lead. This, combined with only 16 hits in the series, is one of the larger reasons that they lost the series.
Faust said that to stimulate production he is “trying different guys” at pitching and “trying different combinations” of batters in the lineup.
An underlying issue that may have caused some of the team’s issues may be their lack of consistency among starting players. Faust said that there is “still competition” among players for starting positions and that “nobody’s claimed a position.” This demonstrates the team’s depth, but makes chemistry difficult.
The Wolf Pack then went on to play a game against out-of-conference opponent Jackson State on Tuesday in Jackson, Miss. The team lost 3-6 after taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning. With bases loaded twice in the game, the Wolf Pack was unable to take an advantage and instead left six men stranded on base.
“The difference in our season is free base-runners,” Faust said. “When we allow them other teams to score. When we get them we don’t take advantage of opportunities.”
On March 8-9, the team welcomes Belhaven University to Segnette field in a series important to conference standings. Belhaven has the second most stolen bases, 61, in all of Division I NAIA baseball. They also have the league leader in steals sophomore Reagan Rutledge.
Faust feels confident in his catchers on the team in neutralizing this strength, but said that in order for this to occur they need to have help from the team’s pitchers. This can be done by pitchers looking runners off, not allowing them to have large lead-offs, and changing up the tempo at which they pitch.
Etefia Umana can be reached at email@example.com