For the second weekend in a row the Dayton Flyers struggled to score, and came home from South Carolina with a predictable, and now familiar, outcome.
In seventeen seasons as the University of Dayton baseball coach Tony Vittorio has taken some long bus trips. But none longer than the trip home Sunday night from Greenville, South Carolina.
For the second weekend in a row the Flyers traveled to the Palmetto state, where last week they were swept in resolute fashion by Stony Brook, USC-Upstate, and Kentucky.
It was familiar turf again this weekend…and painfully, a familiar result.
The Flyers lost three in a throw to the home-standing Furman Paladins and saw their season record drop to 0-6.
Losing 8-1 on Friday afternoon, 9-3 on Saturday, and 5-2 in the Sunday finale, the Flyers’ chief nemesis was also a familiar sight. That is, their failure to hit…and undependable starting pitching.
The Flyers collected just 16 hits in the weekend series in scoring their six runs, and through two weekends now have compiled a team batting average of just .184.
Pitching-wise, senior Sam Brunner suffered through another struggling start on Friday when he failed to survive the fourth inning.
On Saturday Akron transfer Zach Beaver lasted through the 5th, but surrendered five runs on five hits.
Sunday, it was senior Charlie Dant’s burden, but Dant became the bright spot of the weekend by turning in the best starting effort of the young season, going seven innings while allowing just 4 hits and 2 earned runs. Lefthander Mason Kutruff took the loss in relief.
The Flyers took an early 2-0 lead in the third inning Sunday, but saw that lead wiped out in the bottom of the inning when Furman tied the game with a two-run, two-out single.
Dant held serve through seven, deserving a better fate than that delivered by the Flyer offense, which mustered just five hits for the day and could not score past the third.
“It’s the same result as last weekend,” said Vittorio. “Our offensive production was simply not competitive throughout all three games. Six runs in three game is unacceptable.
“Charlie (Dant) really battled through seven innings today. I don’t even think he had his best stuff…he just competed. It’s back to the drawing board this week to see who wants to get in the lineup and into the pitching rotation on a consistent basis. Right now it’s daily preparation and evaluation. We need a little less talk and a lot more action.”
Dayton returns to action on Tuesday for their home opener against Bowling Green at Time Warner Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 pm. Between now and then, it should be an interesting 48 hours for the winless Flyers.
As for the bus trip back?
“Anytime you lose the weekend it’s a long trip, whether it’s an hour or 10 hours,” said Vittorio. “We’ll sleep on things and get back to work tomorrow.”
* Dayton Flyer baseball is sponsored, in part, by members of the class of 2004!