Manhattan College baseball is 30 games into its season, and it has been nothing short of a big disappointment.
“Each game we play it’s something different,” junior third baseman Joe McClennan said. “Sometimes it’s the pitching. Sometimes it’s the offense, most of the time it’s the offense. We haven’t picked up our pitchers at all this year. It’s pretty frustrating.”
After winning back-to-back MAAC championships in 2011 and 2012, the team followed up with a hiccup in 2013 when MC finished the season 24-28. This season is heading in a much worse direction having suffered 22 losses already.
When teams struggle the way MC has there usually is one or two aspects of the game that isn’t being executed properly and with enough consistency on either side of the baseball. For MC, everything needed to be a competitive team simply isn’t there when it’s in need of it.
“It’s a consistency issue. We’ve shown glimpses of being strong in all areas, just not enough and not consistent enough,” Manhattan Head Coach Jim Duffy said. “Offensively we’ve had our struggles in driving runs in. We haven’t been able to deliver. When the run production is low the pitching and the defense has to be flawless and we’re young on the mound and that’s a bad combo.”
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Only two pitchers out of the team’s 12 man pitching staff have been solid and effective enough to lead the team to victory: freshman Joey Rocchietti and junior Michael Martin. They both share two of the team’s five wins.
The situation is a lot direr on the hitting side. Sophomore Christian Santisteban is the lone batter whose bat has made any sort of impact on the offense.
His individual stats alone are well above the team averages.
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Manhattan plans to go into every future game playing as if playoffs are already here by putting extra emphasis on its upcoming MAAC conference series play. Namely the softer part of the schedule when they take on Marist College (2-7 MAAC, 8-21,) Rider University (3-1 MAAC, 10-16), Siena College (5-1 MAAC,7-23) and Saint Peter’s University (2-6 MAAC, 8-21).
These are winnable series that can push the Jaspers into competitive contention if pitching, defense and offense comes together through even the ups and downs
Something that kept being brought up as a possible reason behind Manhattan’s struggles was how throughout the season, it’s played against some of the best collegiate baseball programs in the country: Campbell University (23-12, 9-4 Conference), Oklahoma University (23-11, 4-2 Big 12), No. 11 Oklahoma State University (23-10, 5-4 Big 12), Florida Gulf Coast University (22-12, 7-2 Atlantic Sun), No. 22 Seton Hall University (23-7, 1-2 Big East), Canisius College (19-11, 7-2 MAAC) and Stony Brook University (17-11, 4-1 America East).
“We’ve faced some good pitching,” junior left fielder Brendan Slattery said. “Our team as a whole is trying to get a grasp of our individual approaches as well as the team concept. We’re getting back to being a looser offense.”