After a 2-6 spring break skid, the Miami University baseball team licked its wounds with an 11-4 beating of Morehead State University Sunday. The Red and White claimed the series after splitting a double header Friday.
“We learned a lot and we are starting to play better baseball now,” head coach Dan Simonds said. “We are coming out of it. The bats are starting to heat up a little bit. I feel we have a very, very good offensive team. We have the personnel to be an offensive team and we are getting guys’ confidence back and feeling good in the batters box.”
Feeling good and swinging hard was the status quo for Simonds’ squad, which scored 34 runs in the three-game stretch and allowed 15.
The Red and White (7-11) touched up Eagle pitcher Garrick Whittle for two runs in the first inning. Junior Bryce Redeker ripped a single to bring in the first RedHawk run before senior Kyle Weldon made contact on a ground ball to bring the second run in.
After an Eagle run, Weldon whipped an Eagle pitch over the right field fence for his second long ball of the series. In the third inning, the Eagles (3-17) soared back with a trio of runs to take a 4-3 edge.
Senior Brad Gschwind then moved over two RedHawks into scoring position before senior Jon Edgington came to the plate. Edgington entered the batters box and swiftly spanked the stitches to center field for a two run double and another RedHawk lead.
“We’re swinging the bats well and getting some big hits when we need to. We are trying to get on a roll right now,” said Gschwind, who knocked in four RBIs in the series. “Whether it’s conference or non conference, all games are important. All games matter and we take them all very seriously.”
Sophomore Nate Bowles then knocked in Edgington with one of his career-high three hits of the ball game to extend the lead. Another ground-out with one out meant a fourth run in the inning for the ‘Hawks making the score 7-3.
Eagle pitching was a disaster in the seventh inning; putting six RedHawk runners on base without a hit via hit batters and walks. Coach Simonds’ team capitalized in the inning with three runs to pocket the road victory. Weldon and senior Adam Weisenburger smacked back-to-back two baggers to end the scoring for both teams in the final frame.
“We had some timely hitting and our pitchers did pretty well and threw a heck of a game,” Gschwind said.
Sophomore Brooks Fiala earned his first win of the season surrendering no runs in 3.2 innings of work. The powerful righty fanned six while giving up just two hits.
“Our seniors stepped up today with some big hits,” Simonds said. “Brad Gschwind had a tremendous game at third base. Our bullpen of Brooks Fiala and Brandon Adkins did a great job of shutting them down. I don’t think they scored a run after the fourth inning.”
Adkins pitched hitless baseball for three innnings, fanning four.
Still the coach says he is not satisfied with his team, who he believes should have swept the Eagles.
“We aren’t satisfied because we feel like we are a much better team and should have won all three games,” Simonds said. “The nice part is that we won two out of three and we have more competitive at bats. Guys are up there fighting and putting good swings on the ball. We had a lot of discipline at the plate and it shows with a lot of runs on the board.”
The sour spring skid disheartened the diamond dwellers but looking back, Simonds says his team has learned.
“We were faced with a little adversity,” Simonds said. “The first two weekends we felt very good. We had a tough go of it down in Florida. We ran into some injuries. Ryan Brenner who is kind of the catalyst and a guy for our team who gets us going, he went out for the week. That said, we didn’t play particularly good baseball. We felt like we played some teams that we could have done a lot better against.”
Brenner was injured against Yale University after stealing a base on March 7. Replacing the “catalyst” for the time being will take a lot of teamwork but the RedHawk bats appear to be ready for the challenge.
“The effort has been tremendous,” Simonds said. “These guys are ready to play.”