Baseball Wraps Up Preseason on a Roll Heading Into MIAC Play

Declan+Elias+23+steps+home+to+throw+a+pitch.+Photo+courtesy+of+Robert+Grace+IV.

Declan Elias ’23 steps home to throw a pitch. Photo courtesy of Robert Grace IV.

Samuel Casillas, Staff Writer

After their 14 game preseason road trip, the Scots are locked and loaded for MIAC play to begin this weekend. The squad will start conference play on the road against the defending MIAC champions, Bethel University. 

The busy Scots have had a road game filled preseason and head into conference play with a record of 8-6. They started the season with a two game series split with the University of  Minnesota Morris and then they hit the road — or in this case the sky — and took to Tucson, Arizona, where they competed in the Tucson Invitational Tournament. 

In an action-packed week, the Scots played 10 games in the span of seven days. The Macalester offense was able to get the bats rolling early on in the tournament, but the pitching struggled in keeping runners off of the bases and from crossing home, causing Mac to drop its first two games in the tournament. Despite the two early losses, the Scots were able to regroup on both sides of the ball and finish off the road trip with an even 5-5 record. 

“The maturation of the pitching staff was very noticeable, and played a huge part in the ability to win games,” Head Coach Matthew Parrington said when asked what the biggest takeaway from the tournament was. “Their ability to really focus in on hitters and just throw strikes was able to keep us competitive in games.” 

After completing the preseason tournament, Macalester took to the road one more time for a two game series with University Wisconsin-Superior. In the first game, the Scots were able to take an early lead courtesy of a three-run shot from outfielder Matt Mukai ’24. Peter Aspholm ’23 kept the Yellowjackets hitless for the first three innings, but in the 6th, the Yellowjackets showed promising signs of a comeback. However, their efforts were halted after Matt Rade ’24 entered the game to pitch for Macalester. Rade delivered for the Scots, coming in facing a jam with runners on first and second with no outs and a one-run lead, and putting up two one-hit innings to shut the game down and allow Macalester to take game one of the doubleheader. 

The Scots carried that momentum into game two, and were able to jump out to a commanding 9-0 lead courtesy of an explosive seven run second inning where the Scots batted around and then some, sending 13 batters to the plate. The Yellowjackets showed some signs of life late in the game and were able to produce 4 runs, but the comeback was to no avail as the Scots were able to secure the sweep and enjoy an undefeated road trip back to Saint Paul. 

Mukai had another big game, going 3-3 with a triple, while Charlie Burton ’24 went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s.

“Doing the simple things better has been our main focus this season,” Parrington said. “We play in a competitive conference, and by paying attention to and emphasizing the small details, it will allow us to compete at a better level.”

Pitching will be key for the Scots if they wish to go far this season. Last season, Macalester finished worst in the MIAC with a team ERA of  8.12, and, on top of that, allowed 155 free passes. On the flip side, Macalester’s offense has come out hot heading into conference play, and have been able to see the ball well and produce positive at bats. With a team batting average of .299, the Scots have shown early that they are eager to provide offense, putting more emphasis on the Scots’ bullpen’s ability to close down games and keep the opponent off the board in late game situations. 

After finishing up the preseason with a record of 8-6, the Scots are looking to ride the momentum of their three game win streak as they begin the race for a conference title.  

 

[email protected]