With six weeks remaining in the regular season, the Wayne State baseball team (21-5, 6-2 GLIAC) finds itself with an opportunity to win the program’s first regular season title since 2010.
WSU’s strong season start has been highlighted by the program’s first no-hitter since 2004 — six pitchers completed the effort against Missouri-St. Louis on Mar. 2. The Warriors also notably defeated Division I team Dartmouth University, as well as the last two Division II National Champions — West Chester University and Augustana University.
Head coach Ryan Kelley said the team embraced the level of competition they faced at the RussMatt Invitational over spring break in Florida.
“We were presented with a difficult challenge but great opportunity to play the last two national champions on the same day in Florida,” Kelley said. “We pitched well, played good defense and had some key at-bats in key situations.”
Kelley said the team’s fast start is a testament to their approach heading into the season.
“(We) have prepared and (executed) in competition,” Kelley said. “We need to continue with our mindset and work ethic by simply winning each moment that is presented to us.”
Senior catcher Justin Kelly leads the team with 28 runs batted in, while sophomore left fielder Michael MacLean leads the team with five home runs. The Warriors are averaging a solid 6.8 runs per game.
Head coach Ryan Kelley said MacLean’s desire to help the team win games is a testament to his performance this season.
“MacLean is an extremely hard worker and sturdy competitor,” Kelley said. “He is hungry to do well individually but ultimately plays for the team’s success.”
Junior pitchers Hunter Brown (4-0 1.71 ERA) and Dillon McInerney,(4-1 2.97 ERA) along with senior Tyler Waldrop (4-0 4.20 ERA) have been key contributors for the pitching staff thus far.
Kelley said the pitching staff has been consistent early on but will need to maintain doing so as the season progresses.
“Pitching usually starts strong early in the season. We need to keep pushing forward as opposing hitters will build more experience and rhythm as their respective seasons continue,” Kelley said.
The team will play 14 of its final 23 games of the regular season at home over the next six weeks.
The Warriors begins an eight-game home stand versus Purdue-Northwest on Apr. 5.
Matt Williams is sports editor of The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by WSU Athletics.