At least for a weekend, the Mount Marty College baseball team looked like the team coach Andy Bernatow was confident in when the season began in February.
MMC has won five straight — the longest active streak in the Great Plains Athletic Conference — after its sweeps of Hastings Saturday and then-second place Nebraska Wesleyan Sunday (NWU is now in third).
All three elements of the game stepped up in this weekend’s 4-0 home weekend.
On the mound, the Lancers allowed nine runs in four games, with seven of those runs coming in Sunday’s second game. The 2.70 earned run average the team posted on the weekend was bolstered by eight shutout innings from the bullpen — three by Jason Schmidt Saturday and five by Josh Cleveland Sunday. The pair combined to allow two hits and struck out seven.
At the plate, the Lancers bat .361 over the weekend — nearly 80 points better than the season average coming in (.284) — with an even bigger leap in slugging percentage. MMC hit three home runs this weekend — two from slugger Jason Schmidt and Derrik Nelson’s first career homer — and had 10 doubles. (The power numbers may have been aided by a couple of typically windy spring days, with the wind blowing out each day.)
Defensively, the Lancers had just two errors in four games, after averaging a less than stellar 1.3 errors per game coming in. Only one of the team’s 10 runs allowed this weekend was unearned, while they had allowed 28 unearned runs in 39 games coming in.
MMC still has work to do to get to where they’d like to be. At 8-8 with four games to play, a conference regular season title is out of reach (Doane is 13-3) but a high seed in the GPAC tourney would give the Lancers a chance to make a run in the post-season tournament, May 3-5 in Lincoln, Neb.
If the Lancers are going to make a splash at Haymarket Park, the home of the University of Nebraska baseball team and the centerpiece of the GPAC baseball tourney this year, they are going to have to continue doing it all — pitching, hitting and fielding — like they did to get themselves back on track.