After a successful 2019 season, Pacific University baseball looks at the 2020 season with one goal in mind: Take home a Northwest Conference season title. Projected to finish 8th in the conference in 2019, the Boxers worked their way to a second place finish in the conference and a finals appearance in the conference tournament.
“This team has the chance to be one of the most successful Pacific history,” said Junior second baseman Brad Altomare.
Pacific started the year with a four game trip to California, finishing with a 1-3 record. The Boxers scored a combined 32 runs during the trip including two double digit scoring games. Junior Chase Anderson and Sophomore Jordan Hara led the team with seven runs batted in on the trip. Junior Tanner Johnson led the team with eight hits and a batting average of .571. In their one win during the trip, Senior Gavin Bullock led the Boxer’s bullpen giving up no runs while facing 15 batters.
While the Boxers had no problem hitting the ball, fielding was a different story. Between all four games, the Boxers had 14 errors, which led to several unearned runs. In addition, each loss was by three runs or less. Take away just a few errors, and those three losses could hold a different outcome.
“We consistently need to work and focus on the little things to be successful. As long as we trust the process and each other, winning will come,” said Altomare.
Although the Boxers finished runner-up in the conference during the 2019 season, the coaches poll fits Pacific in at the four slot for 2020. The poll projects Whitworth University, Whitman College, and George Fox University to finish ahead of them.
The hope, for a team who has proven they can win in the Northwest Conference, is use this California trip as a benchmark for what worked and what needs work. What did the Boxers do well throughout the trip and what could be focused on in practice. From a look at the stat sheet, anyone could see hitting certainly is not the problem. With some work defensively, close losses will translate into comfortable wins.
Pacific will continue early conference play this weekend against Lewis and Clark College at home, having games on both Saturday and Sunday.