As season winds down, Scots in playoff hunt

By Pat Murphy

By winning eight of their last 10 MIAC games, the Macalester baseball team has moved into a tie for 4th place in the conference standings. If the season were to end today, the Scots would win their tiebreaker with Hamline and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2000.The Scots were ranked 9th out of 11 teams in the MIAC Preseason Coach’s Poll, but with their recent strong play against conference opponents, the Scots are surprising their doubters. The fact that the Scots have been as competitive as they have is especially impressive since Eric Robinson ’10, the number two starting pitcher has been injured for the past several weeks, and Jack Cooper ’11, the anticipated number three starting pitcher has been out for the entire season after blowing out his knee just before the beginning of the season.

The Scots have been able to overcome the injuries to their pitchers with an astounding season from ace starter James Murrey ’10. Murrey’s ERA has been plummeting all season long while he has continued to rack up gaudy strikeout numbers. His ERA is currently at 2.09, and he has struck out a MIAC best 63 batters in 43 innings on his way to picking up a team-leading five wins.

When asked about the key to his success, Murrey said, “I’ve been able to control the tempo of the game and better challenge the hitters by just letting my pitches do their work,” meaning that he’s not trying to overthrow pitches, but rather locate and change speeds. Murrey’s slider has been the demise of more than a few opposing hitters this year.

“James has developed a nice repertoire of four pitches,” Head Coach Matt Parrington said. “In the past, he had 2 pitches, but he has worked hard to add to his game.”

In the absence of Robinson and Cooper, Alex Ingram ’11 has stepped up nicely, picking up three wins while striking out 32 in 33.1 innings. Coach Parrington said of Ingram that “the talent is there,” and Murrey agrees, saying “Al Ingram has done an excellent job this year.”

The pitchers haven’t been the only ones carrying the load. Offensively, the Scots have turned to Captain SS Nate Wilson-Traisman ’10, Captain 3B Devin English ’10, OF/C Graham Brown ’12, C Rob Williams ’12, and 2B Mitch Glasser ’12. Wilson-Traisman has been one of the top hitters in the MIAC throughout the season. He is currently hitting at .449 with 39 RBI and three home runs. In the Scots last six games, Williams has been on fire with nine hits, 10 RBI, and two home runs.

The Scots have six more conference games the rest of the season, and it will be crucial that the offense produce and Murrey and Ingram continue to be effective. The Scots will also be looking to Elliot Yodh ’11, Will Chen ’11, and Mitch Glasser ’12, among others, to step up and get some big outs.

When asked about the playoffs, Coach Parrington said, “We aren’t focused on the playoffs, just the Hamline series this Saturday. We need to play solid, inspired baseball in order to win games.”

The Scots begin their doubleheader against Hamline at Midway Stadium in St. Paul tomorrow at 1 p.m. Looking to follow Coach Parrington’s advice, the Scots will try to strengthen their standing in the conference with a pair of wins against the Pipers. Murrey and Ingram will be taking the mound as the two starting pitchers.