From a logistical standpoint, week three of the college baseball season for the Millersville Marauders was a challenging one. Our annual trip to Riverside High School in Williamston, North Carolina was canceled due to the awful weekend forecast. Instead, all four teams scheduled to play in the Riverside Classic: Millersville, Glenville State, Seton Hill and LeMoyne, agreed to switch locations to Seton Hill. Because Coach Marizzaldi was unable to thaw out his field for Saturday at Seton Hill, the scheduled changed again. Seton Hill and LeMoyne agreed to play three games at Seton Hill on Sunday and Monday, while Millersville and Glenville State decided to play a double header in Glennville, West Virginia on Sunday. In three days, we changed bus and hotel plans three times.
On the baseball field, there was much less confusion. I was extremely proud of how well our team responded this weekend. We swept the double-header in Glenville by scores of 7-2 and 16-0 behind two outstanding pitching performances from junior left-hander Tim Mayza and TCU transfer right-hander Chris Murphy. Mayza fanned nine over six innings while walking one. His only run given up was a solo homerun given up in the second inning. Murphy’s third win in as many starts was a gem. He struck out fourteen hitters and was one fielding error away from a perfect game, facing one over the minimum. In fourteen innings, our arms struck out twenty-five and walked only one.
Offensively, it took our club a little longer to get rolling. We scored most of our runs late in game two. However, we hit a lot of balls hard. Our offensive philosophy revolves around quality plate appearances, which include hits, walks, hit-by-a-pitches, hard hit balls, and quality outs. Sacrifices, moving runners to third base with zero outs and all runs batted in count as quality plate appearances also. Our goal is to put together fifty percent quality plate appearances over the course of a season. Through eight games, our hitters have put together over sixty two percent quality plate appearances. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the progress that our offense has made over the past year.
Next weekend we travel to Shepherdstown, West Virginia to take on Shepherd in a double header on Saturday. Then Shepherd comes to Millersville for two on Sunday, our home opener. Those of you playing close attention to our club will get a preview of our four-man rotation, as next weekend’s series mirrors the four game series that are standard in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Our rotation will most likely feature Mayza, Murphy, red-shirt freshman Jim McDade, and veteran Tad Barton. We are now 6-2 on the season.