The ‘Breds are gearing up to take on Eastern Illinois Friday for game one of a three-game series.
The ‘Breds have been struggling as of late coming off of a 7-2 loss to Southern Illinois on Tuesday. They are currently in a four-game losing streak after getting swept by Austin Peay before the loss to SIU.
Head Coach Rob McDonald said the key to getting out of the slump is to have their power hitters to perform at their peaks.
“We have got some guys who are not swinging the bat as well as they are capable,” he said. “When the guys that are our best hitters are not hitting it as well as they can, then obviously it adversely affects us.”
In the game Tuesday, many strong hitters did not record any hits. Senior Mike Kozlowski, who a few games ago hit for the cycle, went 0-3; designated hitter, senior Brandon Eggenschwiler, who put up the team’s first home run of the season went 0-3 and freshman Taylor Mathews, who started out the season putting up consistent hits went 0-5. In all the team only put up six hits for the game.
The ‘Breds also struggled to get base runners home once they got on base. Eleven runners were stranded during Tuesday’s game. During the fourth through seventh innings, two runners were left on base during each inning.
Senior Brandon Elliott said he does not think there is any particular reason why this happened.
“I think lately we haven’t been connecting on all cylinders,” he said. “You could see the last three weeks before this, we have been playing pretty well. We are going through a rough patch right now, but I think we will figure it out by this weekend.”
Going through a losing streak can take its toll on a team. However, Elliott is not worried because of veteran and senior guys on the team that have been through the ups and downs.
“If we as seniors, not just myself but all of us, can take it upon each other to pick up everybody on the team,” he said. “We have all been through the ups and downs, this is a down point but it can only go up from here. I think we have a good team and we are going to respond quickly.”
Elliott said Coach McDonald has been telling them to keep just to keep working on the little things.
“In the beginning of the season we were clicking,” he said. “We lost a few at the beginning of the season and then we went on a stretch where we were continuously winning and now we are losing a few in a row. But practice isn’t really any different, a tweak here in somebody’s swing, a tweak there in somebody’s swing.”
The conference series against the EIU Panthers should test this. EIU has also been struggling as of late. The Panthers are 0-8 in conference play and were in a four-game losing streak before defeating Illinois State 20-2 on Wednesday.
The ‘Breds are 6-6 in conference match ups. However, Murray State does not have a good track record against EIU. In the last three years the ‘Breds have only beat them once in seven games. Last season the Panthers swept them.
Elliott said the team needs to focus more on doing the little things right and they practice the little things everyday, like moving runners from second to third.
“We are all trying to do it but you are not always going to get the same result,” he said. “We want quick results but if we can just do the little things right, I think in the next few weeks we are going to be a hard team to beat.”
Story by Jaci Kohn, Sports Editor.