Another game, another loss for the Air Force Falcon baseball team. Not so fast; the Falcons beat Nevada 7-5 on Sunday to avoid their 31st loss of the season. This season that has been a rough one for the diamond Falcons.
Falcon center fielder David Baska and first baseman Seth Kline each had RBI singles in the eighth inning to lead Air Force past Nevada, 7-5. Senior pitcher Alex Baker picked up the win in relief pitching 2.2 scoreless innings for Air Force. Starting pitcher Steven Trojan had a solid performance as well, striking out four and allowing just a pair of runs in five innings pitched.
It was a rare happy day for struggling Air Force (12-30, 5-16). So far this season the Falcons have been outscored by a combined 70 runs (283-213). The win was only the third in the past 10 games for the Falcons. The Falcons also downed Northern Colorado on Wednesday night 9-7 and won at San Diego State 10-9 on April 13 for the two most recent victories before today's win. AFA has had losing streaks of 5, 5, 8, 6 and 2 games to get to their current dismal record.
While the Falcons have some strong hitters, the problem for Air Force this season appears to be pitching and fielding. Hitting wise, the Falcons are a respectable third in the conference with a .283 batting average. Senior Garrett Custons is the conference's third best batter with a .364 average. He has 60 hits and 17 doubles on the season. Seth Kline is no slouch either with a .340 average.
Pitching wise the Falcons are dead last in the league allowing a 5.75 staff ERA which is almost half a run behind the next to last team in that category, Fresno State (5.29 ERA). Trojan is the top pitcher on the AFA staff with a 4.26 ERA but Ben Bertelson leads the team in strikeouts with 71. Simply put, the Falcons have to improve their pitching in order to win more games.
The other area that Air Force struggles at is fielding. Errors have been numerous and often for the Falcons, who have committed 81 errors on the season which is by far the worst in the conference. Only one other team in the MW has more than 60 errors (UNLV 68). The good news is that errors can be improved with practice, experience and position moves. Pitching must be upgraded primarily via recruiting and development.
The Falcons have 11 games left on their 2013 regular season schedule. Hopefully head coach Mike Kazlausky and his staff, along with the team, will work their hardest to improve and build for next season. Kazlausky and his assistants then need to hit the recruiting trail hard in order to get some better pitchers on campus.
Another matchup against Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., on Tuesday night gives Air Force an opportunity to get a winning streak going.
Baseball: Falcons avoid 31st loss on Sunday
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