The Millersville Baseball team headed down to South Carolina two weeks ago to kick off their season with three games against Lander University. Lander had already started its season and came into the first game with a record of 1-3.
Millersville finished the season last year with a 37-20 record, a fourth PSAC Championship game appearance in five years and a sixth consecutive regional berth. Needless to say, they looked to start the season off on a high note.
After having a great season last year Millersville looked to start right where they left off. However, the Marauders could not seem to wake their sleepy bats, nor could their pitchers stop a Lander offense which acted as a thorn in their side all weekend.
The Marauders who pitched had no answer to stop Lander’s firey bats. Being outscored 31-10 in three games and taking a sweep makes for a not fun ride home. This is the first time Millersville scored 0-3 to start a season since 2010.
One thing that made it difficult for the Marauders to get any momentum going was the fact that Lander found the scoreboard first in all three games.
None bigger than game three when Lander jumped out to a 14-0 lead, thus making it almost impossible for a Millersville offense to come back which was a major struggle all weekend.
Lander had 37 hits total for the weekend averaging 12 hits over the three games. In the first game, Millersville ace Eli Nabholz was taken out in just the fourth inning as he gave up five earned runs and struck out six.
Coach Shehan said, “They hit fastballs really well and we didn’t throw off-speed in the zone.” As a pitcher that’s a recipe for disaster.
Hitters are told to look fastball and adjust off speed. If a pitcher can’t throw the off-speed in the zone, the fastball will be easier to hit.
To be an effective pitcher, the ability to throw off speed in the strike zone is crucial. Millersville’s inability to do so gave Lander hitters their opening to rip the ball off the Marauder pitching.
In the third game of the weekend, Millersville’s pitching gave up 13 walks. Millersville used six pitchers in the game and none recorded more than two innings of work. Lander logged 28 walks this past weekend, which is quite a bit for three games. Ultimately, it ended up being a big factor for the weekend sweep.
Millersville’s bats were a little sluggish, but their pitching is what really prevented them from having a slight chance of winning these three games against Lander.
The good news is: it’s only the first three games of the season. Millersville still has a lot of season to play. Even though the team did not start the way they had hoped, the important thing is to move on and figure out what to do differently the next time.
Millersville will travel to Williamston, North Carolina on February 22-24 for four games. They look to move past this three game sweep and will face off for two against Lake Eire and two against Clarion.