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Griffons look to close out road play strong

Griffon baseball will face off against Southwest Baptist in a crucial series. The Griffons have only two teams to play before the MIAA tournament begins. The Griffons come into the series with an overall record of 23-17 and are 16-12 in conference play.

Southwest Baptist comes into the series with an overall record of 16-21 and are 10-18 in conference play. Southwest Baptist is coming off three straight losses against Lindenwood.

The Griffons have won three straight, beating the second ranked team in the conference, Nebraska Kearney, three out of four times. The Griffons are sixth in the conference and Southwest Baptists is 12th.

Head coach Buzz Verduzco says that, despite the injury bug that bit the team midseason, the Griffons are getting healthier and more confident with each game.

“I feel comfortable,” Verduzco said. “We’ve played defense all year, so that really hasn’t changed. Having Orencio in the lineup everyday, being able to have our bullpen intact and kind of know exactly how our pitching staff is going to line up… a lot of those different things now start to flow a little bit easier compared to what they were when we had Richie [Peoples] out.”

Senior outfielder Ryan Degner says that this series is big because of home field advantage in the MIAA Tournament.

“It’s big, being a couple games back fourth or third seed you get home field advantage,” Degner said. “It’s also big coming down the stretch because you want to put yourself in position to get a home field for the MIAA Tournament.”

Degner also thinks that he and his team has to keep putting theirselves in a good position to win.

“I think we have done a good job in continuing in the battle,” Degner said. “We have to keep putting ourselves in position to win baseball games. It’s not always easy to finish the job, but it always help when we are in position to win the series.”

Degner says that they have to start and finish games well.

“We have room for improvement on starting games and continuing and then finishing them,” Degner said. “Playing a full nine-inning game is tough to do and just playing a complete game would be where we have to improve on.”

The Griffons will play Northwest in their last series of the regular season. Degner says that series is also a big series not only because they are rivals, but because of playoff implications.

“It’s the last series against our rivals; with playoff implications, you never know where they are going to be at or where we are going to be at… it’s a big series,” Degner said. “Playing against Northwest, you always want to be the top dog; it’s big for us just to finish the season off strong there.”

Verduzco feels confident as Western readies to close out the regular season.

“I think we’re prepared now for the remaining eight as we get going,” Verduzco said.

The Griffons will play at Southwest Baptist in a four game series.

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