Baseball swinging for conference run


Andrew Walker

Tufts University third baseman Elias Varinos watches Guilford junior catcher Ryan Hill catch a pitch from junior pitcher Brody Holloman on Mar. 18.//Photo by Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

The Guilford College baseball team is looking to heat up as spring begins and conference play gets underway.

After losing the first three games of the season, the Quakers found a groove, winning the next five games. However, after that Guilford began to struggle again. Currently the team has a 7-13 record, leaving their winning percentage at .350. Guilford has 19 games remaining on the schedule as they look to improve upon their .500 winning percentage from last year.

“We probably won a couple that we lost but for the most part I think we’re better than a (7-13),” said Head Coach Nick Black.

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Preseason Poll had the Quakers ranked as the 10th team in the conference, and currently they are sitting in that spot in the standings. They have a 1-4 record in conference play, their only win coming over Hampden-Sydney College on Mar. 16.

The struggles for the Quakers seem to not occur on the road, as many would expect, as they are 3-4 in their away games. At home the team has a 4-6 record, and in neutral sites the Quakers have lost all three games.

The Quakers are only 20 games in and have many more games to turn things around and prove themselves. There have only been four conference games so far, and conference games are the ones that matter the most. A 1-4 start may not be what the Quakers were looking for, but baseball is a game of streaks. One hot streak can turn the team around and help them move up in the standings.

“The ODAC’s always going to be strong,” said Black. “(The ODAC has) a couple teams in the top 25, but it’s not a league that I don’t think we can go compete in and make a good run.”

The team is scoring an average of 4.5 runs per game on a .271 batting percentage. Junior outfielder Dylan Tuttle has one of the team’s three home runs and is hitting  a team-high .338. Sophomore infielder Ellis Stokes is batting .333 and junior infielder Giovanni Garcia is hitting .328.  Senior centerfielder Brett Shapcott leads the team with 12 runs batted in but will be looking to improve his batting average that currently sits at .265.

Senior pitcher Rhett Miller has six starts on the year and has a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings. Dinkins’ ERA sits at 3.68 after four starts and three relief appearances. Other than Miller and Dinkins, no other pitcher that has thrown over three innings has under a 7.14 ERA.  The team has a combined ERA of 6.72, which sits 283rd in Division III.

“There are so many games left in the season to make something happen, I wouldn’t count us out just yet,” said junior pitcher Zach Dinkins. “We’re working on figuring things out right now, getting our chemistry right and figuring out the right placement of all of our pieces.”

The team has had struggles throughout the season with consistency and that is what they are focusing on as they enter the second half of the season.

“Being consistent, I think that’s what we’re looking for,” said Black. “Consistency in our approach offensively, defensively and on the mound.”

The Quakers host Washington and Lee University on Mar. 23 for an ODAC doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m.