Coach Jeff Forehand, whose team is 5-10, thinks that after 15 games the word “new” no longer needs to be used in describing his Bisons.
“I told our players Monday in practice that we can’t keeping a new team,” Forehand said. “We have played 15 games. After the next 15 we can’t still be new and still working through the same issues.
“There is a learning curve. We have guys coming in from high schools and junior colleges. They have all played under different systems. I am hopeful that the next 15 games will be better than the first 15. And the next 15 will be better than that. It’s a progression.”
Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium they begin the second set of 15 games when they face Middle Tennessee State from the Sun Belt Conference. Middle Tennessee is 10-5 to start the season.
“MTSU is such a good team,” Forehand said. “They are arguably one of the top teams in the state.”
Forehand is seeing improvements in his team, though he admits some of the changes might not be that noticeable to many fans.
“To this point our record hasn’t shown that we are getting better,” Forehand said. “But inside I can see we are improving. There are so many things that we are beginning to do a little bit better.
“We have gotten better at understanding some things within our scheme and what we want to do in certain situations. A lot of the situations are not necessarily dictated by me. They should know that depending on the time, the score and the runner on base what to do going in.”
Not being able to bring in runners with timely hits has been a problem for much of the season. Forehand points out that in both the Ball State and Michigan losses Saturday in South Carolina that failures to execute within the scheme were costly.
“They don’t have to necessarily get base hits for our offense to be successful,” Forehand said. “I’m not a huge stat guy but the two things I think about all the time are how many runs a player knocks in and how many times that player steps on home plate.
“Whether a player knocks them in and gets credit for an RBI or that player hits it so hard that the other team makes a mistake then we still scored. I am trying to get our guys to understand is batting average is not the same as on base percentage. The on base percentage makes us a better team because of how fast and how good we are on the bases.”
The Bisons expect to start Chris Nunn, 0-0, 12.60 earned run average, against Middle Tennessee. It will be his fourth appearance and second start.
“Chris has a lot of potential,” Forehand said. “He throws the ball pretty hard to be a big. lanky left-handed freshman.”
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Bisons will be at Shelby Park to face Belmont in the first Atlantic Sun Conference series of the season.
“Everybody we have played has been a tuneup for the Belmont games,” Forehand said. “I challenged them that we can’t keep tuning up.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.