Mac baseball looking for early season consistency

By Will Kennedy

Macalester Baseball’s most recent double header at the Metrodome typified some of the team’s early season challenges. The Scots shut out Concordia University of Wisconsin 5-0 in a pitching exhibition Sunday night, only to lose the late night cap 10-14 in a slugfest. “I’m looking for consistency and I just haven’t seen it” Head Coach Matt Parrington said. “We haven’t been clicking on all cylinders.”

Macalester has yet to sweep a double header this season despite starting each of their last three series with a win.

“We should have swept all three double headers,” team captain Cody Ching ’08 said. “We just have to put things together before conference.”

The Scots will not play their first MIAC game until the end of the month and the team will have its annual Spring Break trip to Arizona to work out some of the kinks in its game, particularly on the defensive end where errors have been a costly problem.

Mac already revealed some promising signs in its two games against Concordia. Pitchers James Murrey ’10 and John Simkins ’08 held their opponents to one hit over seven innings in the first contest. Murrey, an all-conference selection last season, dropped his ERA to 0.82 for the season while striking out six and picking up his second win of the season.

The Scots offense, which has produced five or more runs in all but two of their games this season, received three hits and two runs batted in from first baseman Adam Kent ’08 as the team cruised to victory. Kent and catcher Adam Borer ’08 currently lead the team with .474 batting averages and seven RBI a piece.

Despite losing the second contest, Parrington saw some of the toughness that he believes the team will need if it hopes to be competitive later in the season.

“The thing I was most pleased to see was this last game when we battled back,” he said.

Macalester took the lead in the second game when Ching smacked a first inning grand slam over the left field wall, his first home run of the season.

“It’s every guy’s dream to hit a home run in a major league park,” he said. “It felt pretty good.”

Ching’s teammates raucously greeted him in front of the dugout, but a seven run fifth inning by Concordia gave them a 9-5 lead and quieted the Scots. Mac rallied with five runs of its own in the top of the fifth, but could not keep Concordia from scoring in the final innings.

Borer had three hits and two RBI while Nate Wilson-Traisman ’10 socked two doubles and a triple for the Scots. Eric Robison ’10 started the game, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out one in four innings.

Over the rest of March, the Scots will look to give some younger players experience before solidifying their starting lineup. They can also look forward to some earlier start times (a recent double header saw the Scots get home about 4 a.m.). However, in a difficult conference like the MIAC, Parrington maintains no illusions that the going will be easy for the Scots.
“A lot of it is based on how consistent can we be, how tough can we be [and on] our ability to win close games,” Parington said

Mac will begin its spring break play in Phoenix, Arizona tomorrow against Central College from Iowa. The team plays its first MIAC game March 29 against St. John’s College in Collegeville Minn.