Baseball looks to improve on defensive consistency

By Josh Springer

After three conference match-ups this season, the key word in the locker room is consistency. This objective has become imperative, it could be permanently written into the team’s playbook. Reflecting on tough losses to St. Thomas and Augsburg this past week, both Head Coach Matt Parrington and his athletes stress the team’s need to make plays through all seven innings.”I would like to see the team consistently defend. If we don’t we’ll be fighting to stay in the game,” Parrington said.

Although the team has done well pitching and batting this season, that has not been enough to close out games. Stronger teams in the MIAC, an already competitive conference, will take advantage of any team that lacks steadiness defensively.

“We can make plays, but we’re just not consistent. And baseball is all about consistency,” Adam Kent ’08 said, echoing his coach’s words.

Moving forward with conference play, the team looks to improve on the defensive end in particular. Against St. Thomas, a team currently ranked No. 18 in the nation, the Scots allowed a combined 33 runs in two games.

“Defensively, we’ve been weak all year, that’s been our Achilles heel,” Parrington said.

But while defense has been below par, hitting the ball continues to feature as the team’s greatest strength. Adam Kent went 3-3 with a home run and Joe Borer ’08 had a pair of hits against the Tommies last weekend.

Primarily, what was taken from the difficult games against St. Thomas is the team’s need for evenness between their offense and defense.

“We’re an average offensive team, an average pitching team, and a below average defensive team. If we can bring that up to average, we’ll play more competitively,” Parrington said.

Shaking off the loss to St. Thomas didn’t take much time for the team however. Only a day after the rough conference opener, the Scots recovered, pulling through to sweep St. Mary’s 8-7 and 12-8. In the first game, pitcher James Murrey ’10 struck out 11 batters in six plus innings, bringing his season total to 34.

The highlight of the doubleheader in Winona came early in the first game when Devin English ’10 belted a grand slam to lead off the winning evening. Kent and Will Chen ’11 contributed three RBIs each, helping give Macalester its first two MIAC wins of the season.

While focusing on the team’s resilience against St. Mary’s, Parrington nevertheless noted his squads shortcomings.

“Our greatest disappointment was the defense,” Parrington said in reference to the team’s eight errors in two games.
“When we do have a tough game, we’re able to bounce back rather quickly,” Parrington said. The team will need to do it again after their most recent game.

On Wednesday night the Scots dropped two games against Augsburg, the final tally reading 0-3 and 5-8. Yet the men remain optimistic.

“We continued to fight and did not give in. That’s definitely a big positive for this team,” Kent said after the game.

The Scots, now 2-4 in the MIAC, will look to improve their record against Concordia and St. John’s this weekend. For the first time this season, the team will play in their home away from home at the Midway Stadium. The team will have four consecutive home games starting with Concordia, and then followed by Bethany Lutheran, Gustavus and Carleton.

There are still many conference games to play this season. Although the men have yet to cover all their bases consistently, there remains time for the pieces to come together.

“We have the potential,” English said. “We just need more consistency.