Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle U Baseball Struggles as WAC Tournament Approaches

Adeline Ong

Seattle University Baseball opened their season hoping to reach a goal of 30 wins. As of now, they sit on a 12-29 overall record (6-12 in conference). With 10 games till closing, their ambition will be left unaccomplished. 

Head coach Donny Harrel, Freshman utility player Sam Kane and Senior outfielder Cole Kleckner spoke on their season thus far before their flight to Texas, where they would compete in a 3-game series against Stephen F. Austin April 19-20.

Their enthusiasm at the start of the season wasn’t unwarranted—they’d won their last seven conference series last year.

“[We] finished on a high [and] didn’t learn how to win early against the teams [we] should have,” Harrel said. 

Things began positively, with Senior utility player Derek Gellos batting in three runs in a 7-6 season-opening triumph over UC Davis. The team’s offense flooded into game two, where they scored four runs in the opening three innings. But the Aggies rallied, scoring 13 unanswered runs to deadlock the series. The Redhawks would go on to drop the series finale 8-4 Feb. 18.

This pattern of alternating wins and close losses would continue throughout much of the season. 

“If you look at a lot of the scores, we’re in there really close. It’s usually a 2-3-run ball game. We just need to fine tune a couple other things,” Kane said. 

In their series against Oregon March 27-30, Seattle U dropped their games 5-4, 10-2, 9-2, and 14-7. In game one, the Redhawks gave up a four-run walk-off after leading 4-1 in the final inning. In game two, the Redhawks bucked with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 stranded to bring in only two runs. In game three, they were victim to three inning-ending double plays in a collapse Harrel tagged a “good game gone bad.” 

The team’s poor pitching performance has only created a burden on their offense, as the team’s 7.25 ERA is currently third-worst in the conference. In their series finale against Oregon at PK Park, the Redhawks struck first with a pair of home runs to take a 3-0 lead. A final seven-run offensive output would prove to be insufficient, as a combination of seven Redhawk pitchers allowed 14 runs to the Ducks.

Adeline Ong

According to Harrel, their lacking results haven’t been synonymous with the work that the team has put in.

“The work toward the goal has been consistent progress. That’s what’s so frustrating, because we feel that they should see more results from that,” Harrel said. “It’s not about the physical part. It’s about how we mentally carry that confidence over.”

Kleckner acknowledged the role of trust in turning this season around.

“A lot of the guys that haven’t gotten a lot of opportunities this season got in and succeeded. That’s something we need [trust in our players] if we’re going to make a push at this thing,” Kleckner said.

They left for Texas with a goal of consistency in mind, and swept their three-game series against an ailing Stephen F. Austin team. The Redhawks’ offense surged, racking in a total of 24 runs, igniting their debut conference road series supremacy. 

Seattle U took charge in game one by scoring the first seven runs of the day. Eight Redhawks secured at least one hit, with Senior catcher Ryne Hays and Redshirt Senior utility player Cameron Dayton both collecting two, which contributed to the team’s 10-hit game in the 12-6 victory.

Sophomore pitcher Luke Alwood earned his maiden win of the season from the pitcher’s mound, pitching five innings and surrendering three earned runs while striking out five.

In game two of the April 19 doubleheader, the Redhawks rose early again, this time fueled by a five-run surge in the top of the third inning. Despite the Lumberjacks’ four unanswered runs narrowing the lead to just one, Seattle U retaliated with seven consecutive runs to secure another win.

There would be no drama in game three, as Seattle U posted a season-high 17 runs in a 17-2 rout to finish the sweep April 20. The Redhawks would be brought back down to earth April 23, falling 14-3 against non-conference foe Washington.

Past the competition and sport, Kleckner’s primary desire is simply to engage in a quality game and to “play some good ball.”

Sitting at 10th in the conference with three weeks to play, the Redhawks will need to summon a hot streak reminiscent of their seven-series win streak last season to close out 2024 and advance to the eight-team Western Athletic Conference Tournament in May. 

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