By: Andrew Korba
The 2015 Hiram College baseball team closed out the 2015 campaign on a high note. The Terriers were able to take two of three games from Wittenberg to conclude the season with a 10-27 overall record and 5-14 mark in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).
Hiram kicked off the season by playing 10 games at the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Florida. The Terriers picked up their first victory over Emerson (Mass.) by a 10-3 count. Hiram also defeated Millikin (Ill.) by a 10-5 score and Swarthmore (Pa.) 5-2 on the trip.
The Terriers returned back to Ohio and dropped non-conference contests to Thiel (Pa.) and Pitt-Greensburg. Hiram went on to split a doubleheader with Penn State-Fayette, capturing the second game 16-0.
Following a loss to John Carroll, Hiram opened NCAC play at Kenyon by taking a slugfest 17-14. The 17 runs were the most the team scored during the season. However, Kenyon rebounded to take the final three games of the series.
The following weekend, the Terriers got brilliant pitching performances from senior Nate Weiss (Warren, Mich./University Liggett) and senior J.T. Taylor (Niles/Niles McKinley) in a doubleheader sweep of Oberlin. Weiss tossed a one-hitter and was named to D3baseball.com Team of the Week for his efforts.
The Terriers were then faced with some tough times, getting swept in four-game series by Allegheny (Pa.) and nationally ranked Wooster. Hiram would then faceoff against Oberlin in another doubleheader and would drop both contests to close out NCAC regular season play.
The Terriers would record one more non-conference victory, topping Mount Union on the road 9-7.
Hiram hosted rival Wittenberg during NCAC Crossover Weekend. The Terriers were able to outscore Wittenberg in Game 1, taking it 12-10, before falling in Game 2 by a 14-7 score. HC ended the season with a solid 16-6 win over the Tigers to win the weekend series.
The Terriers landed two Honorable Mention All-NCAC award winners, in senior Jaren Bell (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) and junior Trevor Foster (Warren/Champion). Bell put together a tremendous season, leading the team in batting average (.410), on-base percentage (.547), slugging percentage (.516), hits (50), runs (44) and stolen bases (16), while reaching base in 36 of the teams 37 games. Foster enjoyed his best season as a Terrier, batting .347 and leading the team with two home runs. In addition, he was second on the squad with 25 RBI's and 10 doubles.
Hiram also saw three other players record a .300 batting average or better. Senior Jeff Segal (West Bloomfield, Mich./North Farmington) hit a career-high .378, while collecting 48 hits and scoring 27 times, both of which were second on the team. Freshman Phil Ward (Garfield Heights) posted a .325 batting average with a team leading 26 RBI's. Senior Jim Jaksa (Chesterland/West Geauga) rebounded from a injury to finish with a .306 batting average.
On the mound, Weiss paced the pitching staff with three wins, while senior Pat Rhodes (Girard) and Taylor each finished with two victories.
In addition to Bell's season on the field, he was rewarded for his efforts in the classroom. He was named Capital One Academic All-District and was named Capital One Second Team Academic All-America. Bell becomes the first student-athlete to earn this honor in Hiram's history.
While Hiram will lose a large core of the 2015 roster, the Terriers will return plenty of talent at every position for the 2016 season.