Last weekend the Lawrence baseball team (2-22) took a trip to play Division I Butler University in Indianapolis for the first time in school history. Unfortunately, the inaugural trip was not a fruitful one for the Vikings who were swept in the three game series.
While the Vikings didn’t win a single game, they were facing a Division I opponent for the first time in several decades. Although the team only managed to score three runs in three games, there were some bright spots to be noted.
In the 7-0 Viking loss played Saturday, senior Robert Rashid went 2-3 and reached base three times while senior Andrew Wilt battled through and threw a complete game. In the nightcap three different Vikings drove in the three runs and sophomore Luke Barthelmess had two of the team’s seven hits in the 14-3 loss.
Even though the Vikings faced a tough opponent in Butler, their losses are not entirely due to being overmatched. According to sophomore Davide Harris, “[the team hasn’t] been able to hit in [key] situations, and that has hurt us.”
The Vikings have also struggled to play consistently as a team. For example, against Beloit, the offense provided six runs and the lead before pitching ultimately lost the game. Conversely, in another game against Beloit, the Vikings could only score a single run, while the pitchers held Beloit to only four.
The Vikings lack a group of players to carry the team to victory. As a result, they must win as a complete unit. So far this year, the team has yet to piece together the components, despite a desire to win. But for a team that lost 29 times a year ago, it will take time for that culture to shift.
The team is capable of winning games, as evidenced by their dramatic comeback win against North Central, capped by a walk off hit by Harris to win 13-12. Hopefully, this Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee School of Engineering and the May 1 game against conference foe Ripon College will highlight their potential.