Sports

Baseball finally opens season

With the string of bad weather in the past few weeks, the baseball club saw their first three games of the season postponed or canceled. When they took the field Saturday to take on the Community College of Allegheny County, their rust was evident. Sloppy play marked a tough double-header for the Tartans at the CCAC?s Allegheny campus, but the team will take the games as a learning experience and look to move past the defeats and put together a strong season. The Tartans ultimately dropped both games to the Cougars, losing the first game by a score of 5?1 and the second 12?1 in five innings. Yet despite the lopsided final scores, head coach Kevin Cohn thinks that what hurt the team was simply a series of correctable mistakes. ?We need to be more aggressive at the plate,? he said. ?We struck out looking a lot today.? Cohn said the Tartans? pitchers need to work on improving their control, as the Cougars? offense greatly benefited from walks and hit batters.
Despite the loss in the first game, the team played fairly well, especially defensively. However, the Cougars? starting pitcher, whose overpowering fastball was clocked at over 80 mph, ultimately overwhelmed the Tartans. His power and command of the ball effectively neutralized the Tartans? offense.
Graduate student pitcher and center fielder Dan Ruef batted in both of the Tartans? runs, and he will be heavily relied upon throughout the season to spark the Tartans? offense. Sophomore pitcher and third baseman Doug Peters started the first game for the Tartans, and junior pitcher and infielder Jack Bader started the second. Both pitchers struggled with their ball control and hurt themselves by giving the Cougars free base runners by issuing walks and hitting batters.
?The team is dramatically improved over last year?s team,? said Cohn. ?Today we were getting used to playing together as a team; for a lot of guys this was their first time playing together.?
While the team has no seniors and only one graduate student, its roster is stacked with several experienced juniors and the team has a solid group of first-years who will add depth to the team. Shortstop A.J. Little is one of the first-years looking to make an impact on the team this year. His play earned him the attention of Cohn, who was pleased with Little?s plate presence and defensive play. Cohn also remarked that he expects first-year catcher Ryan Comes to continue to develop behind the plate. Comes had an outstanding game calling pitches against CCAC Allegheny.
This year the team will be led by Ruef, who will serve as the pitching staff?s ace as well as providing some much-needed offensive support. Team captain and second baseman Matt Corbett, a junior, should also provide the team with significant contributions.
While the team?s play was shaky, that is to be expected from the first game of the season. They will play two games next Saturday at Robert Morris University. The first pitch will be thrown at noon.