Slight slump in stats not stopping baseball’s success

At 21-10, and having won nine of their last eleven games, the Baldwin Wallace University baseball team is carrying a hot streak into the season’s homestretch.

With a 10-4 Ohio Athletic Conference record, the club is currently tied with Heidelberg, 23-10 overall, in the OAC standings and is only one game behind in the overall scheme of things.

As the weather has warmed up, so have the Jackets’ bats.

In the past month, the lineup has raised their team batting average from a disappointing .254 to a more vigorous .283.

Still, compared to 2018 when this group hit .312, there has been a drop-off in performance at the plate, further evidenced by a dramatic drop from 2019 to 2018 in terms of power. The Jackets, who hit 43 home runs a season ago, have only left the yard three times this year.

However, when asked earlier this month about what the guys can do to get into a more consistent groove at the plate, Coach Brian Harrison mentioned that stats could be deceiving in the grand scheme of things.

“Hitting is contagious but you win with consistent pitching, defense, and base running. In my opinion, at our level, stats are not an indication of performance,” said Harrison. “We have a few guys that have been swinging it better than a year ago but their batting average may not resemble that. I like where a lot of our guys are at mechanically and approach-wise.”

Harrison’s assertion that the team can with consistent pitching has proven true behind the success of their top five pitchers (Nick Smith, Danny Cody, Garrett Miller, Spencer Aukerman, Spencer Berg), who have combined to post a spectacular 2.13 ERA in 168.5 innings this season. Jack Raines, who is second on the staff in total innings pitched, has a 4.14 ERA.

Yet, his ERA is somewhat inflated after his last couple of outings in which he has surrendered 13 earned runs in nine and a half innings. Before that, he held a solid 2.42 ERA in 44.5 innings.

If he is able to get back to form down the stretch run of the season, the Yellow Jackets will have a lot of solid arms to turn to in an effort to win.

Beyond the box score, Coach Harrison commented on his guys looking at the bigger picture.

“The guys are invested in their player development and are always working to get better,” said Harrison. “We play one of the toughest schedules in the country and we want to be playing our best baseball as we get closer to the end of the season. We’ve beaten some nationally recognized programs but have given a few games away as well. I definitely think out best baseball is ahead of us.”

The remaining regular season schedule for the Yellow Jackets features an April 27 doubleheader at home against Otterbein University before traveling to play Denison University the following day.

On May 3, the Jackets will welcome cross-town rival John Carroll University to Fisher Field for a doubleheader on Seniors’ Day before traveling to Pennsylvania to play La Roche College in the regular season finale.