Baseball team earned respect with recent wins

Brian Klueter and Brian Klueter

Although baseball isn’t as popular among collegiate sports at the University compared to football, basketball, and hockey, the respect that the team has earned this season should not be overlooked.

The Falcon’s baseball team has a lot to be proud of this season. Head Coach Danny Schmitz both achieved and surpassed the 600 win mark in his 23rd year. After qualifying for the MAC Baseball Tournament, the Falcons beat Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Ball State to secure their championship, with pitcher Nick Bruns winning the tournament MVP award. They even had to beat arch rival Toledo twice in order to get to the championship game. As underdogs, they were able to surprise even the most loyal of fans in bringing home their third MAC Tournament Championship, the most recent being 14 years ago in 1999.

The last time that the Falcons won the MAC Tournament Championship, The Matrix, and Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace were new movies and the top song was Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.

This alone is a great underdog story, but was not the end to their season. The Falcons qualified, with their MAC tournament victory, for the NCAA Tournament, being placed in a double elimination bracket in Louisville, Kentucky with major programs such as Louisville, Miami (Fl.), and Oklahoma State. While the Falcons put up a valiant effort, they lost first to Louisville 8 to 3, and ended their season with a 7 to 3 loss to Oklahoma State.

For a team that was struggling to make the MAC Tournament to begin with, this is quite a good way to end the season.

With most students gone for the summer, the awareness of their championship run could be lessened. With the exception of the University’s Athletics website, and the continuous campus updates, student might find it difficult to learn about the baseball team’s success. The MAC and NCAA Tournaments take place after most schools have let out for the summer, so it could be easy to forget that the team plays on past exam week.

Hopefully this MAC Championship and NCAA Tournament success will bring a stronger popularity to baseball at the University. With an epic end to the season, the Falcons have made their name in the history books, even with an ending record of 24-31.

After March Madness dies down, some people either want or feel the need to take a break from following competitive sports. Somehow, the baseball team seems to get lost in the shuffle. Even though the level of popularity is lower, the level of respect should be just as high as the University’s other sports programs. It’s not every day that a sports team wins some sort of championship, so let it be celebrated and remembered.