Andrew Nevins | Echo
The baseball team continued its early season tear with two victories over IU-Kokomo on Tuesday afternoon at Winterholter Field.
The doubleheader victory brought Taylor's record to 15-5, with conference play waiting in the near future.
"Overall, we pitched very well; we did a little bit of everything; this was the best we've played overall this year," said senior outfielder Sam Wiese. "There's still a lot of room to go up, but we definitely had some great pitching performances, some great hitting performances, base running, field running. We definitely played an all-around good series."
The day started off with a nail-biter, as the Trojans narrowly escaped with an 8-7 victory. The play of the game occurred in the first inning, as sophomore pitcher Andrew Kennedy hit a three-run homer to open the contest at 3-0.
IU-Kokomo responded and tied the score at 3-3 heading into the fifth inning. From there, it only took Taylor six hits to put five runs on the board. The Trojans were able to stave off a late rally from the visitors to come out on top.
The Trojans' day didn't end there, as they still had one more game before finishing their series with IU-Kokomo. Taylor again batted in three runs in the first frame thanks to a bases-loaded double from senior utility player Jared Adkins and added another run, courtesy of junior outfielder Wyatt Whitman's triple in the third inning.
Despite the early lead, IU-Kokomo led Taylor by a score of 5-4 in the fifth inning. Taylor closed the game with four doubles, including sophomore outfielder Christian McGill's hit to right center that gave Taylor the advantage and helped the Trojans claim a 9-6 victory over IU-Kokomo.
"I still don't think we've played our best baseball; (head coach Kyle Gould) has been telling us that we still can get to a higher level, and I agree with that," said senior outfielder Tanner Watson.
The team knows despite their success, there is still work to be done. Watson cited consistency as the key. The pitching, hitting and defense needs to be at its best every game if the team wants to live up to its expectations.
These expectations include not just a trip to the conference playoffs, but a first-ever NAIA World Series birth.
"We aren't treating the opening round of the tournament as the final destination - we're trying to go to the World Series," Wiese said. "We haven't ever as a program. This year, we definitely have as good a chance as any year." The Trojans continue their season today with a 12 p.m. doubleheader against Viterbo at Winterholter Field.
"Photographs by Brad Timmerman"