After a solid performance over the weekend, the Lakers have boosted their record to an impressive 24-14.
On Friday, April 12, Mercyhurst University men’s baseball crushed Slippery Rock at home. The following day, Tuesday, April 16, the Lakers traveled to Slippery Rock, Pa., for part two of the series, when the Lakers won one of two games against Slippery Rock.
Additionally, the Lakers were ranked sixth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (NCBWA) Atlantic Regional poll on Monday, April 8.
Senior pitcher Matthew Jimenez knows that the latest ranking is a great motivator for the tough road ahead of the Lakers.
“Being ranked sixth in the latest regional rankings is great, but it just fuels our fire to get higher in the rankings,” said Jimenez. “With only two conference weekend series left, we have to go out and take at least three of the next four games in each series.”
Sophomore outfielder Ryan Siegel views the latest rankings as an opportunity to improve and climb higher in the polls.
“Our goals extend much higher than ninth,” said Siegel. “As a team, we will look for opportunities to grow for the rest of the season and improve to eventually be at the top, where we work to be.”
Outstanding pitching work from senior Ben Rawding and sophomore Jon Klein has helped immensely in the Lakers’ powerful season thus far.
“Our pitching staff and defense has kept us alive in a lot of games. When our bats have been quiet, our defense keeps us close and gives the hitters an opportunity to come through in the clutch,” said Jimenez. “A lot of new and young players have stepped up in big situations.”
Winning three of the four games against opponent Slippery Rock over the weekend keeps the Lakers’ conference record alive and thriving, at 9-6 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division.
“Taking three of four games against Slippery Rock was huge for our conference record,” said Jimenez. “Our defense only gave up five runs over the weekend, which was a major factor in us getting the victories. Two of the three wins were in walk-off fashion, adding a major confidence boost for us.”
Siegel credits the team’s incredible dedication to the success the Lakers are having this season.
“The baseball season is a grind, and everyone showing up to the ballpark with full-effort each day contributes to the success we have,” said Siegel. “Whether it’s rain or snow, we are always out practicing or playing, and it is as much as a grind mentally as it is physically. In the end, it’s the team who endures it the most who will succeed.”
The Lakers will face Clarion University in a pair of doubleheaders on Friday, April 26, at Clarion University and Saturday, April 27, at the Mercyhurst baseball field at 1 p.m.