A lack of lumber trumped excellent pitching efforts for the Miami University baseball team this weekend at Northern Illinois University (NIU).
After hammering the Huskies 8-0 Friday behind the arm of sophomore Mac Thoreson, the Red and White fell 7-4 Saturday and 2-0 in the series finale Sunday.
“We wanted to win at least two games, if not sweep them,” head coach Dan Simonds said. “We ended up just taking the first one and then losing a couple tough games the next two games. To get a great pitching effort, the way we did from (sophomore) Brooks Fiala was terrific on Sunday. We just could not get our bats going.”
Those bats had just three hits in Sunday’s meeting. Husky starter Jeremy Gonzales had a perfect game after setting down 17 straight RedHawks in the sixth inning before surrendering a single to senior Jon Edgington.
“We need to get back to the basics a little bit,” Edgington said. “We need to get back to the fundamentals of getting fastballs and getting hard contact and not trying to change the game with one swing. Once you get some guys on you can take advantage of our speed. We can put a lot more pressure on the other team.”
Despite giving up two runs in the fourth inning, Fiala battled on the mound and surrendered only six hits in seven innings. He also had five punch-outs.
Before the Red and White (16-16, 5-4 MAC) submitted the series to the Huskies (13-16,6-3 MAC), Simonds’ squad grabbed two contests from Big Ten titans Ohio State University and Indiana University.
“We came out the first day and took all the energy and then they scored first the second day,” Edgington said. “That got the momentum the rest of the weekend. We couldn’t get the momentum back it felt like.”
With the pitching staff keeping them in games, the coach hopes his bats can swing back big.
“It was frustrating but there is still a lot to be positive about,” Simonds said. “We took a couple games from the Big Ten and we just need to be positive. We have a couple games this week and we can get back on track as far as conference goes. The biggest thing right now is to get a few guys that are struggling going. We have some pretty good hitters and it’s just a matter of time before they get going again.”
Two bulbs starting to brighten are Edgington and senior Brad Gschwind.
Edgington has hit safely in his last four games and is hitting .437 in his last five games with six RBIs and four runs scored.
Gschwind has hit .400 over that same stretch with seven RBIs and two runs scored.
“It’s great to see two seniors get back to where they need to be,” Simonds said. “They are getting on base and getting big hits and being a lot more productive in our lineup. We are going to need those guys. Kevin Bower is another guy, who is one of the better hitters in the MAC. He got off to a very slow start and is starting to find his way now. I’m excited about what Kevin brings to our team when Kevin is right.”