The Mount baseball team completed an 8-game road trip during spring break, which included stops in Punta Gorda, FL, Port Charlotte, FL and Morehead City, NC. They currently hold a 2-6 record. Sophomore Zach Hostetter, junior Ryan Owens and senior Kory Britton led the team offensively with batting averages over .300.
Head Coach Scott Thomson realized that early-season games like these are all about building team chemistry before conference play. “This early in the season, our record doesn’t matter,” Thomson said. “Yes, we want to win every game that we can, but we are also trying to figure things out as far as who can do what and when and in what situation.
Senior Andrew Clow led the charge in a 7-3 win on Feb. 28 versus North Dakota State. Clow, who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases, broke open the scoring in the top of the first with a single that plated senior Jay Knight and Owens.
After North Dakota State took a 3-2 lead, Hostetter tied it back up with an RBI single in the sixth inning. The Mount reclaimed the lead in the seventh inning and never looked back. Another RBI single by Clow brought in the go-ahead run. A Hostetter sacrifice fly and a 2 RBI single by sophomore Zach Call padded the lead.
“We came out playing hard and with a lot of focus,” Hostetter said of the first game of 2015. “Our defense was very strong, and we held our opponent to a low score.”
Senior Chris Campbell had the victory on the hill allowing two runs and two hits in three innings of relief. Junior Jordan Lawson picked up the save by tossing three scoreless innings and racking up two strikeouts.
The team split a day-night doubleheader versus Nebraska-Omaha and Kentucky on March 1. An 8-2 victory over Nebraska-Omaha was followed up by an 8-2 loss to Kentucky.
Junior Chad Diehl kept Nebraska-Omaha batters at bay in game one. In six innings of work on the mound, Diehl allowed three hits and only one earned run. Four strikeouts highlighted his first win of the 2015 campaign. Britton and Knight provided the damage offensively, combining for five total hits on the day.
Clow opened up the scoring in the first with a sacrifice fly that plated Knight. In the third inning, the Mount offense began to build a picket fence across the scoreboard, tacking on one run each of the next three innings. In the sixth inning, another four runs was enough to seal an 8-2 victory.
In game two, the Mount was silenced offensively. Owens and freshman Brendan Dabagian had the lone two hits for the Mount. The team was able to muster up two runs in the third inning when Knight and Owens drove in one run apiece.
The remaining five games of the road trip were tough to swallow. In a 15-1 loss to Northeastern on March 2, the lone bright spot was the Mountaineer’s ability to play small ball with a bunt by Owens to score Call in the fifth inning. The run left the Mount down 2-1, but 13 runs for Northeastern in the final three innings was too much to overcome.
Hostetter hit the lone home run of the road trip in a 9-2 loss versus Maine on March 3. Britton had two hits in the loss.
The team’s final game in Florida produced the harshest scoreline. A 21-4 loss to Villanova on March 4 featured 25 hits for the Wildcats. The game was locked in a scoreless tie until the third inning when Villanova plated three runs. The Mount responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half. Ultimately, Villanova was too much as they dominated the remainder of the game.
The Mountaineers finished their spring break road trip with a double header versus Army on March 6. The games were originally scheduled to be played at home, but weather forced the twinbill to be played in Morehead City, North Carolina.
Game one was a tough 11-1 loss. Clow and Britton collected two hits each while junior Tommy Quealy tacked on one.
Game two was a much more competitive game that featured a furious comeback by Army. The Mount held a 2-1 advantage heading into the bottom half of the seventh inning, but Army was able to rally for a 3-2 win. Clow led the team with two hits.
The Mountaineers will look to return to their winning ways when they host St. Bonaventure for a three game home series this weekend. According to the sophomore slugger Hostetter, defense will be crucial in the team’s return to greatness.
“We just need to get back to basics,” Thomson said of the six game losing streak. Hostetter added saying, “Once we get back to sound defense, we will do very well and we will get back to winning.” Hostetter said. The baseball team is confident that there are bright days ahead for them.