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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Chaparral Baseball Leaves Cyclones in the Dust

COD suffocated Moraine Valley’s offensive efforts to win their first home game of the season.
Rachel Wagner

Fresh off of an 18-15 victory over Oakton College, the College of DuPage baseball team stayed scrappy returning home on March 29. The Chaparrals fell behind Moraine Valley Community College early before exploding offensively in the seventh inning, scoring two runs to take the lead and four more in the eighth to solidify it.

COD’s bullpen kept the Chaps ahead, shutting out the Cyclones through six total innings. Moraine Valley scored two runs in the ninth inning to threaten the lead, but COD regained their defensive footing to win the game 10-7, improving their record to 5-6.

Freshman outfielder Troy Vosburgh sprints to make a catch in right field. (Rachel Wagner)

“We had a good crowd out here,” assistant coach Matt Gould said. “To give them the first home win, we were excited about that.”

When the Cyclones gave the Chaparrals trouble in the ninth inning, Gould said it was easy to remain calm because they’ve learned to battle out of that situation.

“We know there are some things we need to shore up. We’ve been making the ninth inning interesting a lot, but the guys know that when we need to take a breath. We need to be able to recenter ourselves to finish out games and not make it a bigger deal than it is.”

Freshman pitcher Eddie Munson poked the first few holes into Moraine Valley’s offensive momentum, helping the Chaps defensively on the mound. Stepping in after sophomore Connor Chapulis’s first start of the season, Munson threw one strikeout and gave up no runs through the fifth and sixth inning.

“Honestly, I just go out there with the mentality of ‘I’m kind of that dog,’” Munson said. “I throw the ball into the [strike] zone, and it just works out.”

Sophomore outfielder Aden Aukland led the team offensively with four hits in five at-bats. He also stole one base, scored one run and collected three RBIs. Aukland’s analysis of Moraine Valley’s pitchers put him in a good spot to hit consistently. The right-handed hitter explained his approach and how it’s gotten him to 18 total hits so far this season.

“When I’m facing a lefty like [Moraine Valley’s starter], I try not to do too much,” Aukland said. “If I know a righty is going to try to pitch [to] me inside [the strike zone] a lot, then I’ll usually get pull-happy. When I’m facing a lefty, I just try not to pull the ball. I just stay right-center, and that’s worked pretty well for me.”

Freshman infielder Jack Wade recorded one walk, one strikeout and one hit in four at-bats, smacking the ball far into right field for a triple. Wade scored the most runs for COD with three, and he batted in two more to put the Chaps ahead of the Cyclones.

“I give the team runs so the pitchers don’t have to work as hard,” Wade said. “If baserunners are out there, my job is to get them in.”

Freshman infielder Hudson Williams crosses home plate. He scored two runs and struck out once in four at-bats. (Rachel Wagner)

The Chaps showcased three right-handed pitchers against the Cyclones, putting freshman A.J. McEneany in for the last three innings. Earning his first save of the season, he threw five strikeouts and two walks while allowing only one hit. Relieving after two years as a starting pitcher gave him trouble in the ninth inning when the Cyclones scored two unearned runs, but McEneany overcame the pressure and secured the win.

“I guess you could say the nerves were a little there, but after my first inning, I felt like I could keep rolling,” McEneany said. “We’ve been down a few guys the last few weeks, so some guys just got to step up to spots they’re not comfortable doing. I guess that was me today.”

McEneany isn’t the only pitcher in COD’s bullpen to step into a different role. Between injuries and other setbacks, the Chaps are adapting healthy pitchers to fit their needs.

“The relievers and the starters alike have been told that they just have to be ready,” Gould said. “We find ourselves in a situation where we need extra arms. As long as you’re healthy and ready to go, you could be called upon. They know that’s what it needs to be for now. Until we get into more of a rhythm with the bullpen, guys are going to be all hands on deck.”

COD baseball looks to extend their winning streak in their first doubleheader at home against the Harper College Hawks. The Chaps take the field for game one at 12 p.m. on March 30 at the COD Baseball Field.

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