This weekend the Miami University men’s baseball team needed a spark.
After losing a pair of games to the Western Michigan University Broncos (9-25, 3-9 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) by just one run, Head Coach Dan Simonds put some faith in freshman Mac Thoreson. The right-hander was up to the challenge Sunday when he tossed a complete game, bounced seven Broncos via strikeout and only surrendered three runs on eight hits to give his RedHawks a 10-3 victory and spoil a sweep.
“Going into the game I felt really well,” Thoreson said. “I remember coach asking me how I was feeling and I felt the best I have felt all year going into a game. I learned a little bit from my performance at Ball State and I kind of applied it to today’s game. Our defense did a fantastic job behind me and it turned out to be an alright day.”
Thoreson’s mates did all right at the plate as well. Outfielder Kyle Weldon went yard and finished with four RBI’s. Right fielder Adam Eaton raked three hits, scored three runs and knocked one run in. First baseman Kevin Bower added two RBI’s for the RedHawk (16-19, 4-8 MAC) cause.
The Red and White win keeps them afloat despite dramatic defeats in the first two games of the series. Friday the RedHawks rallied late with three ninth inning runs but couldn’t tie the score and lost 5-4. Simonds’ squad squandered a 1-0 opening lead and only scored their runs in the first and last innings of the game.
Saturday they were primed to grab the bridge game of the series after building up an 8-0 lead on the Broncos. The home team caught the ‘Hawks napping and galloped back in the game by adding runs in every inning from the fifth frame on, outscoring the RedHawks 12-2 during the stretch and plating the fatal run in the bottom of the ninth for a 11-10 victory.
“The first two games weren’t bad,” Simonds said. “Certainly the result wasn’t good and we let them back in it in the second game. Today’s performance it was great to comeback after losing two very tough games. Mac Thoreson did an outstanding job and really set the tone for our team. He threw a lot of strikes and struck out seven guys. He just did a terrific job and certainly we needed it.”
But with Thoreson on the mound and the RedHawk lumber hot, Sunday would be no walk in the park for a blissful Bronco.
“It was huge,” Thoreson said. “Yesterday was kind of a bummer because we had a big lead going into the late innings and Western Michigan did a good job of getting back into the game. We needed a good game today to keep the team together, to keep the morale because we know we have a great club and we just got to keep playing hard. Getting the win the third game and coming back home for our homestretch with a little momentum is definitely a good thing.”
The Indiana University Hoosiers will step out of the Big Ten Conference and try to spoil the RedHawk homecoming at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.
“We need a better weekend and we talked about it,” Simonds said. “It’s good to get this one today. It was a good win for our team and getting ready for midweek games and big weekends now we get to play our side of the division. We need to take care of business against our side of the division. That’s going to be the story for us if we want a shot at this MAC title. We are going to have to take care of our side.”
The Red and White will take on the Xavier University Musketeers Wednesday before getting a shot at a MAC opponent over the weekend when they host the University of Akron Zips.