While many of UR’s students were spending their spring breaks lounging on the beach, UR’s baseball team was getting crucial game time in before their spring season went into full swing.

The team’s annual spring trip to Florida was a mixed bag of success and disappointment as they came home with a respectable 5-3 record, but felt they could have down better.

“Even though we beat some quality opponents, we did not meet our expectations,” senior second baseman Adam Braveman said. “We had the goal of winning the University Athletic Association and we just fell short.”

UR started off strong with two non-conference wins before reaching the UAA tournament. An 8-5 win over John Jay College was spearheaded by sophomore outfielder Jon Fanning, who went four-for-five at the plate, driving in three runs.

Sophomore pitcher Hunter Hawkins picked up the win with two innings of two-hit baseball. Senior pitcher Mark Jakubowski picked up the save by pitching a scoreless final frame.

UR showed its preseason publicity to be more than just hype by upsetting Marietta College – the No. 4 team in the nation – with a run in an extra-inning thriller.

UR managed to get back into the game despite trailing by seven runs after four innings and by five runs going into the sixth. To Braveman, the key to UR’s success was their belief in each other as a team.

“Everyone believed that we were going to win that game, and everyone contributed,” Braveman said. “[The game] was so intense, we just kept clawing back.”

The Yellowjackets used an eight-run inning in the sixth to take an 11-8 lead on Marietta, only to see the game tied again by the seventh.

The game seesawed back and forth with UR forcing extra innings when freshman outfielder Mike McCormack smashed an inside-the-park home run to lead off the ninth and tie the game at 13. The game stayed that way until the 10th, when freshman Dan Price doubled home senior Mark Jackson, who had singled to begin the inning.

Price had two hits, including the game winner, and juniors Dan Pfohl and Scott Smith went four-for-five and three for six, respectively.

To Pfohl, the win proved huge for the team’s confidence in the early season.

“A big highlight of the trip was definitely the win over Marietta,” Phofl said. “It was a great team win because lots of guys made big plays for us.”

The Yellowjackets used this momentum to begin the UAA tournament.

The team beat Washington University in St. Louis 5-2, Brandeis University 4-2 and Case Western Reserve University 14-2.

Securing these first three wins of the tournament gave the team a five-game winning streak.

However, UR snapped this streak by dropping their next three games, losing to Washington 13-1, CWRU 4-3 and Emory University 6-5.

“The difference between the first five games and the last three was that we stopped doing the little things right,” Braveman said.

Braveman saw the team’s failure to play the right brand of baseball as the reason for the three-game skid.

“We don’t have guys who are going to hit 15 home runs for us,” Braveman said. “We are a team that plays good defense, gets solid pitching and does the little things like steal bases, get bunts down, [execute] hit and run [situations] and get a clutch hit or two.”

During the trip, the team was led by Price and Pfohl, who both hit over .500.

Senior pitcher Matt Zwolleg picked up one victory with a 2.25 ERA. Sophomore teammate Matt Koren did the same, with a 3.00 ERA.

According to Phofl, the team can get itself back on the winning track by learning from the mistakes made in Florida and returning to last season’s style of play.

“We just need to continue to stay focused and prepare ourselves the best we can for each game,” Pfohl said. “We know that we are a tough team when we play our game. We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed for some nice weather so we can get back out there and get some more wins.”

Allard can be reached at dallard@campustimes.org.

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