Miami played only 15 baseball games last year.
COVID-19 may have cut the season two months short, but the RedHawks are ready to kick the 2021 season into full gear.
“While our schedule has changed several times over the past couple weeks, I remain very excited about the competition our team will face before we head into MAC play,” head coach Danny Hayden said.
Last year, Miami was ranked No. 33 in the Preseason National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. This year, the RedHawks are not on the list.
But that does not mean there is no potential to be found in Miami baseball. The team finished behind Central Michigan and Kent State in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll. The RedHawks had 96 votes with one first-place vote.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, some early home games were canceled. Therefore, the majority of Miami’ s games will be on the road until March 19. This is challenging and exciting at the same time.
“That will not be an excuse for anyone inside our program,” Hayden said. “After having the 2020 season taken away so abruptly, these guys couldn’t care less about a bus ride if it means we get to play baseball again.”
A couple of exciting events have surrounded the RedHawks during the offseason.
Landon Stephens signed with the Atlanta Braves last summer, and junior pitcher Sam Bachman is gaining national attention. MLB Pipeline named Bachman the 29th overall 2021 draft prospect.
“Sam is such a special guy,” Hayden said. “He was blessed with tremendous talent, but what makes him special is his work ethic. There has not been a time where he has shown up at the park acting as he has arrived. Instead, every day he shows up ready and willing to work and compete and develop.”
Pitching coach Matt Passauer praised Bachman’s work ethic as well. He mentioned how Bachman has been improving on controlling his fastball, change-up and slider.
“Sam continues to fine-tune his arsenal each year,” Passauer said. “He has done a tremendous job adding to the ways he can attack a batter and a lineup.”
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Bachman had a 3.42 earned run average through 23.2 innings pitched. He had the third-best ERA in the shortened 2020 season and pitched eight innings against Milwaukee last March.
Both Michael Spinozzi, who had a 1.17 ERA with 7.2 innings pitched, and Jonathan Brand, who had a 1.32 ERA with 13.2 innings pitched, are returning this season.
Infielder Will Vogelgesang and outfielder Cristan Tejada will also be returning. Vogelgesang had the second-best batting average on the team last season, with a .340 average in 53 at-bats.
Tejada had a .291 average and a team-leading 55 at-bats.
The RedHawks started their season at Jacksonville University. The three-game series started last Saturday, and Miami won all three. The first game on Saturday was a 4-1 win, the second game on Saturday was an 8-4 win and Sunday’s game was a 5-2 win.