“Road games finally caught up with the University of Akron’s baseball team. The Zips started the season playing their first 16 games on the road. They won nine of their first 10 games, but the Zips (11-6, 1-2) cooled off, winning only one of their final six games of their road trip.””
Road games finally caught up with the University of Akron’s baseball team.The Zips started the season playing their first 16 games on the road. They won nine of their first 10 games, but the Zips (11-6, 1-2) cooled off, winning only one of their final six games of their road trip.Winning 10 games on a 16-game road trip should still be considered a successful trip. Unfortunately, the Zips lost two of their first three Mid American Conference games in Ball State (10-12, 2-1) last weekend.All the games before MAC play are basically preseason. The non-conference games serve as a channel to make a name for a team and to prepare for conference play. You play non-conference games to raise your RPI, gain respect nationally and to try to get that second team into the national tournament is your ultimate goal and we’ve done that with our schedule. But it’s a whole new season now with the start of MAC play, coach Pat Bangtson said during his weekly news conference. The intensity level goes up and everybody’s goal at the beginning of the year is to win a championship. Akron’s first conference opponent was reigning MAC champion Ball State, and the two played a relatively close series. Even after a great start, the Zips are still not considered one of the better baseball programs in the MAC, but Bangtson knows where to look for good models of MAC baseball.When we sit back and look at what we need to do to make the University of Akron a competitive baseball program in this conference, we certainly need to model ourselves after a Ball State, Kent, Miami and Central Michigan – teams who have been consistently successful over the years.It is crucial for the Zips to put together some early conference victories to gain the respect of the rest of the MAC. The good news for the team is that it began a well-deserved five-game home stand yesterday against Cleveland State. Akron used a four-run eighth inning to topple CSU 6-3. During this home stand, the Zips will play three conference games against MAC West leader Northern Illinois (11-7, 3-0). It’s still early, but early season losses can put the team in a hole that is too deep to climb.
? Junior co-captain Scott Gunn has been hitting well. In three games versus Ball State, Gunn drove in five runs, hit two home runs, doubled twice and batted .333. He led the team in total bases (13) and slugging percentage (.867). On the season, Gunn has started every game and played error-free in the outfield. ? Redshirt freshman pitcher Steve Zemanek helped snap the Zips’ four-game losing streak with a complete game victory over Ball State in the first game of their doubleheader. In nine innings, Zemanek struck out three and allowed five runs on only seven hits. Left-handed Zemanek is 3-1 with a 5.88 ERA this year.