After starting the season with 19 straight road games, the Miami University baseball team is happy to be home. And their bats are swinging with gratitude.
The Red and White opened their home slate with a win over Eastern Kentucky University before sweeping the Central Michigan University Chippewas in a series previously meant to be played in Michigan. Inclement weather meant three games at McKie Field at Hayden Park and the RedHawks repaid Mother Nature with a 2-1 win Friday and wins of 3-0 and 9-4 in Saturday’s double header.
“We are playing well and we are where we thought we would be starting at the beginning of the year,” senior Jon Edgington said. “We worked hard during the off-season and feel like we don’t really have any weaknesses.”
A batting battalion that preaches competitive at-bats and wearing pitchers down had 15 hits in Saturday’s night cap. The RedHawks (12-11, 3-0 Mid American Conference (MAC) are in the midst of a six game winning streak.
“Last year we took a lot of pride in our defense, this year one of the things we wanted to get better at was our offense,” Edgington said. “Hitters one through nine really worked at that in the off-season and you are really seeing the product of that now. One through nine we are threatening every inning and it really wears teams down.”
The ‘Hawks jumped ahead of the Chippewas with three runs in the first inning on the bats of senior Kyle Weldon and freshman Marcus Makuch. But the Chippewas answered with two runs in the second inning to tighten the game at 3-2.
Simonds’ men then answered in the fourth frame with four runs to blow the game open. Pitcher Jake Sabol couldn’t find the plate and a wild pitch brought home outfielder Bryce Redeker. Makuch, who had five hits in seven at-bats on the day, then brought home catcher Adam Weisenburger with a double to right center field. Edgington then plated Makuch before Ryan Brenner loaded the bases. The Chippewas (9-15, 0-3) then brought in a reliever who allowed the seventh run on a wild pitch.
“We are always preaching competitive at bats and that’s what we weren’t having early on,” Simonds said. “All nine guys are going to compete at the plate. They are going to battle the pitcher. When you’ve got guys like Brad Gschwind and Jon Edgington hitting down toward the end of the lineup that are tough outs, it gives us a much better team.”
Edgington finished four-for-five at the plate, with an RBI and a run scored. Gschwind was two-for-four from the batters box and also scored a run for the ‘Hawks, who allowed just one more Chippewa run before plating an eighth of their own in the ninth inning.
Sophomore starter Brooks Fiala (2-2) allowed three earned runs and one unearned run over six and one third innings. Junior relief arm Joe Neff took over in the seventh inning and sat down eight straight batters.
“When we went down to Florida I saw a lot of good things,” Simonds said. “The results weren’t what we wanted but I saw confidence and realized at some point it was going to start to turn around a little bit once we got the bats going. It doesn’t surprise me because we have some talented kids. It is just a matter of getting games under our belt to start playing well.”