OXFORD — Coach Dan Simonds and his Miami University baseball team are putting their postseason hopes in the hands of a freshman.
First-year pitcher Mac Thoreson will get the starting nod today, May 26, when the RedHawks face the Toledo Rockets in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
“Thoreson is going to get the ball, absolutely,” Simonds said.
The right-hander from Knoxville, Tenn., who has a 5-5 record with a 4.74 ERA, locked up that crucial assignment when he pitched what might have been the gem of the 2010 season for the RedHawks in the first game of Miami’s series sweep over the Ohio Bobcats last weekend.
Thoreson hurled a three-hitter in Miami’s 8-1 victory, striking out eight and walking none.
“He’s a three-pitch guy with a split finger, curveball and fastball, which he locates very well,” Simonds said. “A very intense competitor.”
Thoreson is one of 16 pitchers who have seen action in Miami’s last nine games, and that also includes Adam Eaton, the junior outfielder from Springfield who leads the RedHawks in just about every offensive category, including batting average (.369), home runs (13) and RBIs (55).
Eaton pitched a scoreless inning in relief recently and might need to do it again in the tournament. And according to Simonds, “not just mop-up time.”
The Miami coach said he had planned to use Eaton as the team’s No. 3 starting pitcher this season.
“He had a strain during winter workouts, and we had to back him off,” Simonds explained. “We didn’t want to lose him as a position player, too.
“He came up to me (Tuesday) before practice here in Chillicothe and said, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go if you need me,’ ” Simonds said. “He’s a special player, that’s for sure. He plays the game recklessly, in a good way. He’s a throwback player.”
Unfortunately for the RedHawks, they might not have junior catcher Adam Weisenburger (.312, five home runs, 45 RBIs), who has been in the starting lineup 49 times in 53 games, because of illness.
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