Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Luckily for the UR baseball team, the aforementioned statement is a fact. Although the team is 3-9, the season is long and there is plenty of time to make up lost ground. Despite the poor start, the team is still tied in the Liberty League standings in second place with Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Skidmore College.
After going 1-7 down in Florida over spring break, the ‘Jackets have since returned home and have gone 2-2. The reason for the disparity may be the difference in opponents during the University Athletic Association tournament in Florida and the Liberty League teams the team plays during much of the season. The team has also been traveling a lot. They will play their first home game on April 1 against St. Lawrence.
While the record may not show it, there have been many positives for the team thus far. One is freshman Blair Veenema, who threw a three hit shutout against Skidmore on Sunday during a 5-0 win. All three hits were singles and only one was after the first inning. He struck out five while walking only one batter and twice retired eight in a row. Veenema also had another strong start on March 12 against St. Joseph’s College. In that game, a 4-1 win, he threw 6.2 innings, allowing only one run and striking out 10. It is helpful to note that games are only seven innings long.
The Yellowjackets have also suffered some tough losses, including a 4-3 loss to Emory University on March 18. The game went into extra innings, extending to nine after a comeback by Emory. The pitching did its best to keep the game tied, but Emory squeaked out a run in the ninth. Another tough loss was on Saturday against Skidmore. The team lost 3-2, but out-hit Skidmore 6-3.
Another bright spot has been Kurt Bednarcyk, who has played in all twelve games to date and has a .439 batting average. Senior captain Dan Pfohl is another asset to the team and has gotten out of the gate quickly. Both have done their part to help the struggling offense.
The best game offensively thus far this season was a nine run explosion on the way to a 9-4 win against Skidmore on March 25. In this game, Bednarcyk led the charge with a 4-6 day with two RBIs and a run scored and Pfohl added a 1-2 day with a run scored.
The pitching has gotten into some tight spots, but the poor defense has really hurt them. Simply looking at sophomore Pete McEneany’s line, with 11 runs allowed with only two of those earned in 13.2 innings, it is obvious that the defense and its untimely errors has helped to create big deficits. The hitting hasn’t meshed quite yet, but the large leads the other teams put up only add more pressure on the offense. Once the defense improves, which it undoubtedly will with efforts from the coaching staff, the hitting will also improve.
This team is very talented, and it would be a shock to see them not make a run, at the very least .500, but even to the top of the Liberty League standings. Once the young talent has gained experience and the hitting and defense start gelling, look for the Yellowjackets to go on a run and win lots of games due to senior leadership and some newcomers.
Goff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.