“A baseball team’s third spot in the lineup is often occupied by the most consistent batter. They should have power, speed, high batting average and the ability to perform with runners on base. The University of Akron’s baseball team believes it has found the right man to maintain the third spot.””
A baseball team’s third spot in the lineup is often occupied by the most consistent batter. They should have power, speed, high batting average and the ability to perform with runners on base.
The University of Akron’s baseball team believes it has found the right man to maintain the third spot.
During the Bowling Green series, coach Pat Bangtson moved first baseman Doug McNulty from fifth to third in the lineup.
A Homer City, Pa. native, McNulty is eager to help the squad with his new position in the batting order, but the three spot is unfamiliar to him.
I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable there. I’ve never hit there in my whole life, McNulty said. As good of a RBI guy as Kurt (Davidson) is, we need people on base. I’ll do whatever it is the team needs.
McNulty is batting .333 on the season and is tied with Davidson for the team lead.
Along with the high average, he has one home run, 22 runs batted in, eight doubles and 21 runs scored. He ranks within the top five on the team in every major offensive category.
Maybe more impressive than his ability to get on base is his talent on the bases.
This year, McNulty leads the team with seven stolen bases, but doesn’t attribute swiping bags to speed.
With me, it’s timing. It’s easy if you see the pitcher in a rhythm and not paying attention, the redshirt junior said. As soon as I get on base, I like to go. Sometimes it’s easier on 0-1 or 0-2 counts because the pitcher will probably throw a curveball in the dirt.
McNulty is in his third season with the Zips. In the previous two seasons, McNulty batted a combined .282 with seven homeruns, 15 stolen bases and 48 RBIs.
His power numbers are down a bit, but his average and runs batted in are on pace to surpass last season.
In the offseason, McNulty was having shoulder problems, stating that he could barely throw a ball 25 feet. He attributes much of his improvement at the plate to a shoulder surgery.
I had shoulder surgery, and somehow my swing got miraculously shorter. I used to have a long swing, McNulty said. I also simplified my swing working with coach (Brian) Donohew. I’m not thinking as much.
McNulty claims to be laid back and loose. He tries to play every game like it could be his last.
I don’t take anything for granted. You don’t know when you could get hurt and never play again stated McNulty. I never dog it. I run out every ground ball and chase every fly ball.
The season is entering the final stretch and McNulty believes the team controls its destiny.
I think we are doing well, (but) obviously we have lost some games, McNulty said. We still have to play every one ahead of us in the conference. This is probably the best team I have been on in four years.
The Zips game Wednesday against Cleveland State was rained out. The next chance to see McNulty, who approaches the plate with the sound of bagpipes playing over the sound system, is May 4 when the Zips start a home series against Ohio University.
Winning for a cause
Tuesday night, the Zips took on Kent State at Canal Park to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital in the inaugural Diamond Classic for Kids game.
The Zips defeated the Flashes 3-1 and granted the kids with a great pitching performance.
Freshman Zach Yike pitched four innings, giving up one run on five hits and was credited with his second win of the season. The Zips bullpen provided five scoreless innings to close out the game.
Captains junior Scott Gunn and senior Charlie Lenhard drove in all three of the Zips runs. Doug McNulty also stole his seventh base of the season, which put him in position to score the go-ahead run.
The Zips play Kent State again in a weekend series starting May 11 at Lee Jackson Field.
“” #1.1362026:2539107326.JPG:Doug McNulty.JPG:Doug McNulty leads the Zips in batting average (.333) and ranks in the top five in all offensive categories for the Zips. :Jeff Harwell / Zips Sports Photography”