After a rough start to the spring season, the University of Chicago Maroons men’s baseball team went on a five-game winning streak. On April 6, the team — which had a 2-5 record — suffered an 8-4 loss against Beloit College, but bounced back by winning seven straight games. By now, the team has won 19 games in total, equalling the previous season’s tally.
“We have a very talented group of young men who believe in each other,” said head coach Kevin Tyrrell. “They all bought into the team-first mentality… you’ll see a really unselfish approach to the way everybody on this team plays the game, and winning is the most important thing to them.”
Tyrrell was appointed the team’s head coach in January after three seasons as an assistant coach and seven seasons as head baseball coach at the College of Dupage.
He credits the team’s “electric spark” this season to its key pitchers, who have helped the team stay consistent through its winning streak. Sophomore pitcher Drew Bryan, named Midwest Conference pitcher of the week in April, has so far recorded 37 strikeouts and holds a school record of a 0.00 earned run average. Junior pitcher Dylan White has recorded 39 strikeouts, a team-high total.
On offense, sophomore infielder Noah Nelson, senior infielder Carson Weekley and senior catcher Brett Riegler have each accumulated batting averages over .350 and have collectively hit eight home runs.
“Our pitching staff has been fantastic. Riegler and Weekley are the only true seniors, but their leadership has always been indispensable.”
Despite a stressful week of midterms and several weather delays, Tyrrell said the team remains consistent and competitive.
“They have been sacrificing sleep, and it really is tough on their bodies,” said Tyrrell. “Baseball is such a grind physically and emotionally. Once we get over this hump, I think it will be smooth sailing.”
As the regular season comes to an end, the Maroons are gearing up for conference play, where they’re expected to face off against longtime rival Lawrence University. Last season, the Maroons split six games against the Vikings, with each team taking three wins.
Tyrrell hopes this is the year the Maroons clinch their first conference title.
“The conference championship has been the focus since day one… we have been preparing for it since the first day of practice,” he said. “We just need to go about our business the way we have done all year and focus on the task at hand.”