There has been rain, snow and even hail over the last few weeks here in Forest Grove and none of it has cooled down the red hot Pacific men’s baseball team.
After a shaky 2-3 start the Boxers have rattled off 10 straight victories, the last six against conference opponents. The Boxers impressive start to the season is the best the team has had this decade with the closet being in 2011 when the team started 12-5.
The team can credit their success to a combination of consistent hitting and impactful pitching performances. The Boxers are tied for first for hits among conference opponents with a total of 136 and even though they rank fourth in batting average at .279 their on-base percentage is second at .385. The team has been playing quite aggressively on the base paths too. The Boxers lead the Northwest Conference in both stolen bases and times caught stealing.
When it comes to the teams performances from the mound, the Boxers have been setting the standard for the conference. With a conference low 3.65 earned runs averaged(ERA), the Boxers have been shutting down opponents consistently to start the season.
Leading this charge has been senior left hander Casey Brown. Brown is top three in the conference for ERA (1.83), strikeouts, in which he leads the conference with 44, and wins (3).
Brown was recently named Northwest Student Athlete of the Week for the week of Feb. 26 to Mar. 4. Brown earned the award for pitching three straight complete games, where in the game against Linfield College he struck out 11 batters. This marked the third time Brown has pitch a double digit strikeout game this season.
Brown is not alone when it comes to standout appearances on the mound. Sam Lawrence and Tyler Oscarson both are top three in wins and and top ten in ERA.
What we have yet to see from the Boxers is how they will fare against stronger conference opponents. Although the win streak is impressive and is by no means an easy accomplishment, the team has been lucky with their schedule. During the ten game streak the Boxers have played only one game against a team that is above five hundred.
As of now, the team will not face such an opponent until the end of March when they play Willamette University, who is currently second in conference behind Pacific.
The Boxers should be praised for their early season success, especially due to its historical significance to the program. This Boxers team has accomplished what no other has been able to over this last decade.
However it is important to remember how early in the season the team is having not even reached the halfway mark. Whether the Boxers continue their current success will be determined by if they can continue to perform at a high level as the competition gets stronger.