The University of Indianapolis baseball team recently learned about a misprint in the handbook relating to the postseason. Originally, the Great Lakes Valley Conference took the top four teams from each side, but now it will take the top three teams from each and two at large. Prior to facing Bellarmine University, Head Baseball Coach Gary Vaught was thankful that the team sat at 16-8 in the conference with the new rules.
“It was just a misprint, an honest mistake. But right now, thank goodness, we’re 16-8 and in first place. We have a little bit of a cushion right now,” Vaught said. “With 12 games left, it’s crunch time. And to sit here and say we are in—I would think we have a good shot at it, but who knows. One weekend, if we have a bunch of hiccups and we don’t play well, then we’re fighting to get in.”
UIndy is currently first in the GLVC East after playing Bellarmine April 17-18. On Tuesday, April 21, they competed against Notre Dame College in a nonconference game that did not affect their GLVC standing.
Before facing the Knights, Vaught said that the games were crucial. Junior second basemen Anthony Asalon seconded that.
“I think they [Bellarmine] are right behind us by four games,” Asalon said. “If we can take at least three out of four, hopefully four out of four, we can separate ourselves in the conference and give ourselves a better chance to be the No. 1 seed in the conference when we go into the tournament.”
UIndy split the series with the Knights, 2-2, holding on to their position on top of the East. Each day ended with a 1-1 split, as UIndy took the first game in each doubleheader. The Greyhounds’ second win of the series also proved to be a historical one, as it was Vaught’s 700th victory as head coach of the Greyhounds.
Prior to competing against Bellarmine, UIndy faced Kentucky Wesleyan College [KWC] in one of three midweek games. After nine innings, the Greyhounds fell to KWC 6-5, despite leading 5-4 after five innings. UIndy’s loss came after the Greyhounds failed to make adjustments at the plate.
“Our coaches put in a ton of time and effort for us, and worked on stuff to make us better players,” Asalon said. “Even just the small, little adjustments in the games help.”
After the loss, the ball club had a team meeting.
“We had a meeting for the first time in a long time, and I challenged them to the point of not being selfish and not being stubborn,” Vaught said. “And what I mean by not being stubborn is [to] look for tendencies in the ball game. I understand they [the opponents] are going to keep doing what makes us have failures, so then we have to make an adjustment in the game, and I think that is what we haven’t done. Even though we are winning, we need to make better adjustments.”
Prior to KWC, UIndy had a doubleheader against Saint Joseph’s College and came away with a split. The Pumas took the first game 2-1, and UIndy won the second 12-8, following 11 innings of play.
The bats were statistically efficient for both the Pumas and Greyhounds, as each team finished with 12 hits throughout the second game, after only finishing the first game with a combined seven hits. The game also included four sacrifice bunts for UIndy that helped secure the win.
“We’re going to bunt and run, and we did,” Vaught said. “That’s how we beat Saint Joe, and that’s how we won last weekend [against McKendree].”
UIndy has eight games left in its season, with four coming against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers and four against the Lewis University Flyers.
“This is the best team I have ever been a part of, just from a personal level. I’ve never been a part of a team that can do what we can,” Asalon said. “Other than that, I think we’ve got a good chance to win it. I think we’re going to pull ahead and be the No. 1 team overall if we can pull together these last few games.”
The Greyhounds will host the Rangers at home this Saturday, with the first game set to start at noon.