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          Spartans near best win total in school history

          George Jones

          Issue date: 4/16/10 Section: Sports
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          In the last 26 years of CWRU baseball, the team has finished with more wins than losses only twice: in 1994 (19-16-1) and in 1997 (19-15). At 16-15 through Tuesday, this year's team is poised not only to finish with a winning record for the first time in 13 years, but shatter the previous modern era record for wins, 19.

          "The thing I'm most proud of is that we're having some success this year with a lot of the same players as last year, but they have just kept their noses to the grindstone and worked really hard and gotten a lot better as individuals and as a team," said coach Matt Englander.

          "The big difference in the team this year, as opposed to the past two years I've been here, is our confidence level as a team," said junior pitcher Devin Dye. "In past years, as the losses built up, the team morale becomes difficult to maintain. We are a much deeper, more talented, and more experienced team than ever before."

          The team has made at least small improvements in almost every category on both offense and pitching. One could waste a lot of newspaper space listing all of them, so here are just a few:

          •The Spartans have scored 8.32 runs per game and given up 8.63, both of which are much better than last year, when they scored just 6.31 runs per game and gave up 10.05.

          •The team batting average of .335 is 45 points higher than last year's, and will be the first time the Spartans have maintained an average above .300 since 2003.

          •The Spartans have already hit 19 home runs, five more than last year's total and much higher than any other team in recent history.

          A catalyst for the offensive improvement has been the addition of two freshmen, Matt Keen and Brett Ossola, to the lineup. Keen leads the Spartans in home runs with eight, and in many other categories, and Ossola is third among regulars in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. The addition of these two to a lineup with quality returning hitters such as juniors Chad Mullins and Cory Pecoraro has given depth to the entire offense.
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