By Jack Brewer and Grace Remington, For The Miami Student
In its first two games of the season, the Miami University baseball team fell 3-1 to the University of Cincinnati Friday and fell again 7-1 to Mississippi State University the next day.
In the season opener against Cincinnati, the RedHawks could not overcome an early Bearcat lead in which the Bearcats went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first after a two-out single by junior infielder Devin Wenzel. This came after Miami sophomore starting pitcher Jacob Banks (0-1) hit two consecutive batters to load the bases.
After the first inning, the Miami pitching staff settled down and surrendered only one run the rest of the way, which came on a solo home run by junior Ian Happ, who finished 3 for 4 on the day. Banks lasted 4.1 innings before being relieved by sophomore Brad Schwartz. Banks struck out seven batters, but also walked two batters while hitting a pair of batters as well. The effort out of the bullpen from Schwartz, junior Brian Thene, senior Clay Cinnamon and freshman Gus Graham combined to surrender just three hits in 3.2 innings of work. Thene's appearance marked his first game action since 2013 after sitting out the 2014 season due to injury.
"We left so many guys on base and so many opportunities to score a lot of runs in that game," head coach Danny Hayden said in reference to his team leaving 12 runners on base. "We did a very poor job of hitting with runners in scoring position."
The next day, the RedHawks were victim to another early deficit when the Bulldogs scored five runs in the first two innings. With two outs in the bottom of the first, redshirt first baseman Wes Rea smacked a grand slam giving his team an early 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, senior outfielder Jake Vickerson extended the lead to 5-0 with a solo home run.
The RedHawks had a chance to get back into the game in the top of the fourth when junior outfielder Jake Romano, sophomore second baseman Steve Sada and junior designated hitter Gary Russo all walked to load the bases with no outs. Senior catcher Max Andresen singled in a batter to put Miami on the board, but a double play ended the rally and the inning for the RedHawks.
Senior Ryan Powers was handed the loss after giving up five runs on five hits in 3 innings of work. The RedHawks managed just five hits in the game and were silenced offensively after scoring their only run in the fourth inning.
"I think the strength of our team will be our offense, and that was the glaring weakness this weekend," Hayden said. "If our pitchers can do what they did this weekend, I think we'll be just fine in terms of getting plenty of wins this year. I know offensively we'll have better weekends ahead of us than we had this weekend."
The RedHawks are back on the field on Friday against UNC Asheville in the opening game of the Wofford Tournament. First pitch is set for noon in Spartanburg, South Carolina.