For the third time this season, Miami baseball (8-23) has been on the losing end of a Mid-American Conference series, dropping two-out-of-three against Eastern Michigan University (12-19) at home this past weekend.
After losing the first game 7-5 in 10 innings, the ‘Hawks bounced back to win the second by a score of 6-2. Heading into the rubber match, the hunt for the first MAC series win was on, but the search proved fruitless — the RedHawks lost the finale 10-6.
In what was a battle of birds, the Eagles and the RedHawks battled each other to a near-stalemate at the plate. In the end, it would be the Green and White outscoring the Red and White 19-18.
Sitting 15 games under .500 at this point in the campaign isn’t ideal, but MU isn’t allowing the past to affect their outlook of the season going forward.
“We just got to stay positive,” freshman left fielder Cal Elvers said. “We are a good team. We just have to keep grinding it out. We have good players and we just have to believe in ourselves. There’s a lot of season left.”
Senior center fielder Steve Sada, who went 1-for-4 with a three-run triple in the finale, agrees, adding that the team will maintain an unflappable mindset.
“I think we’re a very confident team,” he said. “I think it’s just playing better baseball, honestly. One day, pitching’s not there. One day, hitting’s not there. I just think it’s playing complete games every single game.”
The opening affair of the series saw the ‘Hawks limp into the trio of games against EMU on a five-game losing streak, their fourth such streak of at least three games.
The top of the first inning brought similar feelings of despair into light.
Eastern Michigan teed off on Miami’s sophomore starting pitcher Shane Smith for three runs in the opening frame, with Redshirt junior outfielder Mike Mioduszewski dealing the first blow with a double to right center field, scoring one.
MU would bounce back in the bottom of the first with two runs of their own. Redshirt senior third baseman Adam Yacek brought the score to 3-2 with a single up the middle to plate home Redshirt junior Ross Haffey.
Eastern would add another run in the next inning to bring their advantage to 4-2. After a four inning respite in which no runs were scored between both sides, the RedHawks found themselves with their first lead of the evening in the bottom of the seventh.
It was a one-run double coming off the bat of freshman infielder Landon Stephens that broke the 4-4 deadlock, giving the ‘Hawks a one run advantage.
Unfortunately, victory was not in the cards, as the Eagles came roaring back in the final two innings to snatch a series-opening win from the ‘Hawks. Senior right fielder John Montgomery took Miami’s sophomore reliever Nick Ernst deep to right field on an 0-1 pitch, ensuring a 7-5 win.
Coming close to victory in the opener, the RedHawks entered the sandwich game on a mission to even up the series.
For manager Danny Hayden and the Red and White, it was mission accomplished.
Behind an offensive explosion that saw them score all six of their runs in the final five innings, the ‘Hawks evened up the series.
After falling in the first matchup, EMU was on the board first to make the score 1-0 in the top of the fourth, bringing back the mood of malaise that emanated through Hayden Park too often this season.
But don’t tell that to MU outfielder Cal Elvers.
The freshman left fielder sent the first pitch he saw up the middle for a two-run single, giving the ‘Hawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Red and White would go on to win the game 6-2, evening up the series at a game-a-piece.
In the third game, Montgomery put EMU into winning position first with a two-run single in the bottom of the third.
EMU would score two runs in the fourth to increase their lead to 4-0 as Montgomery would cause damage with a two-run single up the middle. Miami would cut into the lead with a run in the bottom of the same frame. In the bottom of the fifth, the ‘Hawks would make a statement.
The Red and White would put together a four-run inning to take their first lead of the game, overcoming a 4-0 deficit. Junior outfielder Brooks Urich was responsible for the lead change, with a sacrifice fly to left field.
While overcoming the early deficit was a sign of the squad’s resilience, it was all for naught as Eastern would end up winning the high-scoring game in the end 10-6. In the process, the Eagles took the series.
Up next for the ‘Hawks is a road trip to face Dayton University (10-19) for a short, two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We just need to take care of what we can take care of,” Hayden said. “Our bats need to get better. It’s a pretty simple message, and there’s nothing that we do — we’re not recreating the wheel, or anything like that. We just have to take care of our at-bats and do a better job when we’re on the mound.”
Aside from taking on the Flyers, Miami’s next three-game series will be at home against La Salle University (6-23) with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Friday.