Struggles continue for V-Hawk baseball

By Jordan Murray

Sports Editor

After a promising start, the Vit­erbo baseball team has struggled to gain traction this spring.

The team started off with back-to-back shutout wins over Ozark Chris­tian College and Culver-Stockton College but didn’t get another notch in the win column for a full month. The losing streak spanned 13 games and four states, as the team dropped contests in Missouri, Florida, Ken­tucky, and Iowa.

The team’s bats finally broke through on March 25 against confer­ence rival William Penn University. Blake Shepherd, Kahtan Al-Kaissy, and Jeff Clabots each contributed three hits to the 8-6 victory.

Viterbo has also picked up confer­ence wins over St. Ambrose Univer­sity and Ashford University. Shep­herd tossed a complete game to pick up the victory against St. Ambrose, while senior Martin Aguirre threw seven scoreless innings against Ash­ford before Shepherd picked up the save.

The team has struggled both at the plate and in the field this season. As a team, the V-Hawks are hitting just .262 and are averaging just over three runs per game. In comparison, Viterbo’s opponents are batting .287. Self-inflicted wounds have been dif­ficult to overcome; of the 146 runs Viterbo has given up, just 95 have been earned.

One bright spot has been the ef­forts of the V-Hawk pitching staff. Aguirre has given up just one earned run in 20 innings pitched, while junior southpaw Chris Dunn had struck out 50 batters in 53 2/3 innings at press time. Dunn ranks fifth in the Midwest Collegiate Con­ference in the strikeout department. As a team, Viterbo has the third best earned run average of any pitching staff in the conference.

Shepherd paces the team in bat­ting average (.322) and is hitting .409 in conference games. Fresh­man infielder Taylor Reinhardt has also had a big impact at the plate for Viterbo, batting .313 and leading the team with nine runs batted in at press time.

At press time, two wins over con­ference foe Mount Mercy Univer­sity boosted Viterbo’s record to 7-23 overall, 5-10 in conference play.

The V-Hawks will try to finish out the month of April on a high note with eight consecutive home games scheduled, including games against conference-leading Grand View University, Iowa Wesleyan College, and UW-Stout. The team was scheduled for another contest with Mount Mercy on Sunday, April 15 before Lumen’s release.

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