‘Breds make strides toward successful season

Jaci Kohn
Staff writer

 

Look out Ohio Valley Conference, the Murray State ‘Breds are having a standout season.

Photo by Melissa Ruhlman/The News

So far the club is 8-5 and has produced a six-game winning streak. Head Coach Rob McDonald said the team has been able to put things together this season.

“We’ve had good pitching pretty consistently and our hitting has really seemed to come a long now, over the last several games.” he said. “Probably the best thing is that our defense has been good. The guys have done a great job competing. We’ve had a couple close games and the guys have done a good job handling situations late in the game.”

There are a lot of new faces on the roster this year who have helped the ‘Breds in many ways.

“The (new players) helped us on the mound; we’ve got some good hitters and good defensive players,” McDonald said. “They’ve helped in every aspect of the game.”

The ‘Breds have a good deal of experience under their belts, with eight returning seniors to lead the team.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have quite a bit of experience now and they are good leaders,” he said. “I think they’ve communicated what they expect to the younger guys and I feel really good about our veteran guys.”

Compared to last year the team is playing exceedingly better. At this time last season the ‘Breds had a record of 4-6 and ended the season with a 19-32 overall record, going just 9-13 against teams in the OVC.

McDonald doesn’t think there is comparison between this year and last season because of the many changes to the club, such as new players and new opponents.

“Right now we’ve had some balls bounce our way and the guys are doing a great job of executing,” he said.

Junior right-handed pitcher Will Handlin credited team unity as a key component to their success.

“We’ve had good defense, good offense, good pitching and that leads to a lot of success on the field,” Handlin said. “We’ve had a really good off season and we worked hard. After last season a lot of guys had a bad taste in their mouth. Now we really want to come out and have a good year.”

Handlin said the team needs to continue to work hard and not take anything for granted.

“This is fun, the ride we’re having right now,” Handlin said. “I think we won six or seven in a row. We had a rough one on Sunday but we are back out here and ready to go.”

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch said everybody is pitching to their potential and all the pieces are in place for the winning to continue.

“Last year we hit pretty good but we struggled in our pitching, we struggled as a team,” he said. “This year we are pitching a lot better and are still hitting, so we’re winning a lot of games.”

Junior first baseman Mike Kozolowski said the ‘Breds resiliency to not let down throughout the game and to battle back when they are behind is key to their feats.

“We’ve really been proving ourselves lately and our pitchers are starting to come around,” Kozolowski said.

McDonald said the team has to remember to take it one game at a time.

“You can’t really worry about the next game, you just have to stay focused on the game, the inning and the pitch we are currently in,” he said. “If you do anything other than that then you are going to have a tough time. We’ve just got to stay focused and positive on the current game.”