baseball

Freshman pitcher Andrew Melnyk winds and delivers before the start of the game.

In a season where Longwood baseball has been unable to find consistent footing, their fate will come down to the final 10 games to clinch a berth into the Big South Tournament.  

Currently sitting at 10-33 and 4-17 in conference play, the team is last in the Big South Conference, two games behind Charleston Southern.

The top nine seeds clinch a berth into the conference tournament. 

For head coach Ryan Mau, this year’s journey has been full of adversity which has led to it being a “difficult season thus far”. 

"I told our guys, life is full of adversity and there’s only two options and one option is obviously just to pack it in and cower in the corner and that’s not an option for us," said Mau. "Our only option is to fight back and get ourselves out of that corner.”

A corner the Lancers now find themselves in after beginning the conference slate at 2-1. The team would then go on to lose 18 of their next 21 games and fall to their current mark.

The team suffered three losses in walk-off fashion during their recent nine-game road trip that included crucial in-conference matchups with High Point University and Radford University.

“It has been a long, rough stretch for us and we had a couple of competitive games that we just couldn’t finish,” said Mau. “Having three walk-offs in the last two plus weeks was emotionally draining and difficult.”

The Lancers were able to find the win column this past Tuesday as they avenged a loss from earlier in the season and took down the Spartans from Norfolk State 5-3.

Junior shortstop Antwaun Tucker has faced adversity of his own this season as he suffered an injury in the team’s March 1 contest at Hawaii. Despite missing time and only playing in 29 games to date, Tucker currently is second on the team with a .302 batting average.

“Not trying to do too much, just come back and help the team anyway that I can,” said Tucker.

He said the team has increased focus and drive going throughout the rest of the season. 

“Sometimes we lack the energy and it shows on the field, but we will come with one hundred percent every game, ready to grind,” said Tucker. “We don’t bounce back well I would say. So when something bad happens on the field we are kind of deflated after that and we just need to pick it up and turn it on more.”

The Lancers currently have nine conference games remaining on the schedule including this weekend's aforementioned matchup with the USC Upstate Spartans.

The team yielded 13 walks in game one of the series en route to a 16-2 loss. Freshman Cullan Wadsworth led the team with a 3-for-4 effort and added his first home run of the season.

On Saturday, the team again fell to the Spartans by a score of 13-9 as Upstate struck eight times in the seventh inning to take full control of the contest and series.

Sunday found the team on the wrong end of a pitchers duel, as the Lancers had the tying run on base in the ninth, but eventually fell 4-2. 

In need of a quick turnaround in the win column, the Lancers will try to rebound moving forward to regain lost ground for the final spot in the Big South tournament.

“It’s been a lot, but the season is not over and we are still fighting as a team which I am proud of and we will see what we can get done here in the next couple of weeks," said Mau.

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