4-17 start not deterring OU baseball

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The Oakland University baseball season has been hindered by unfavorable weather and a slow start in regard to wins and losses, but the team looks to improve as the season carries on, with its eyes on the NCAA tournament this May.

Despite game cancellations accompanying a record that leaves much to be desired, Head Coach John Musachio is confident the team can overcome a 4-17 start that features a winless record in the Horizon League.

“There are pockets of things we do well, but we’ve got to do better to win those close games,” he said. “I’d like to see consistency in [the team’s] ability to maintain its confidence – pitch-to-pitch, inning-to-inning and game-to-game.”

With 22 games remaining – 18 of which are in the Horizon League – there is plenty of time to turn the season around.

“We’re going to have our ups and downs but it’s critical that we stay playing at a high level mentally and not let the struggles pull us down,” senior pitcher Jason Hager said.

The season is nearly halfway completed, but OU has found it difficult to gain consistency given the fact that each of the team’s seven home games have been cancelled.

Coach Musachio has made it a point not to stress over the weather, though, a factor he recognizes as an unmanageable element to the season.

“We can’t control the weather, and we talk about focusing on things we can control,” he said. “Of course we’d like to be playing, but frustration is a waste of energy.”

With the absence of games affecting the fluidity of the schedule, the coaching staff is responsible for replacing missed games with a mixture of workouts, off days and simulations.

For Coach Musachio, he gauges the attitude of the team before deciding how to handle a weekend without games.

“We try to keep them on their toes,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll get them some game action indoors. But if they’ve been traveling like crazy, a few days off here and there isn’t so bad.”

In his final season with the squad, Jason Hager wants to be competitive as a team and is confident Oakland has what it takes to make some noise in the postseason.

“We’ve been knocking on the doorstep of a conference championship for the last two years and there’s no doubt in my mind that this team has the make-up to get it done this year,” he said.

Weather permitting, OU is scheduled to host conference opponent, the University of Illinois at Chicago, for a three-game home series beginning April 11.