The 2013 Season came to a close for the Bearcats on Friday night April 26, at the KIAC Tournament. The Bearcats finished the season with a (23-34) record, which was three wins better than the previous season and ten wins better than Head Coach Aaron Biddle's first team in 2011. In just two years the Bearcats have improved their winning percentage under Biddle by 139 points.
Offensively, the Bearcats were led in batting average (.378) by Junior Third Baseman Alex Hegge for the second consecutive year, while Junior Shortstop Nate Crocker led the club in runs (44), hits (63), doubles (17), homeruns (7) and total bases (103). Freshman Centerfielder Brady Reese led the team in stolen bases with 19 and Senior Jordan Rhodes set a new single season school record with 15 hit by pitches. As a team, the Bearcats batting average dropped from .293 to .289, but the club saw an increase in double, triples, homeruns, total bases, slugging percentage, hit by pitches and stolen bases.
Much of this, Biddle contributes to the work put in by Hitting Coach Shawn Aubin and Assistant Coach Addison Rouse. "These two guys did a great job of blending their hitting styles to suit the needs of our guys. Coach Aubin is one of the hardest working guys I've ever been around and Coach Rouse brought in some new ideas that these guys were able to implement together and I think that's the biggest reason for the increase in power we saw this year," said Biddle. "Coach Rouse also does a great job with the base runners and that let to us almost doubling our stolen base totals."
Despite the improvements the Bearcats made offensively, the biggest improvements were seen on the mound and defensively. The Bearcats saw the team ERA drop from 7.62 in 2012 to 5.81 in 2013 and the team fielding percentage was 26 points higher than the previous season. The Bearcats were led on the mound by Senior Zach McLean, who not only set school records for appearances (28) and saves (8), but also led the club in wins (6), complete games (3), shutouts (1), innings pitched (62.2) and opponent's batting average (.248). Freshman Caleb McIntire led the team in ERA with a 3.72, while making 24 appearances good for second most in single season history behind McLean's mark. Other key contributors on the mound were Sophomore Christian McHatton who pitched in five wins and Junior Drew Shoulders who made 20 appearances, including nine starts.
"Pitching and defense go hand in hand and in the past I think our Pitchers have been afraid to pitch to contact because we have been so bad defensively. We have gotten so much better athletically on the infield since last year, especially at third base and shortstop," said Biddle. "When Pitchers have confidence in their defense it makes all the difference in the world."
The Bearcats will lose six seniors off of this year's club, but return seven of the nine regular position players and all four weekend starters. With 12 players already committed for next season the Bearcats will look to build even further on this year's success.
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