By: Scot Cooper / swampscott.sports.wickedlocal.com
Swampscott's Chris Murphy and his Stonehill College baseball teammates got off to a great start to their 2018 season with games in South Carolina and in Florida, winning their first four games and finishing a solid 7-6 on the trip south.
The Skyhawks were hoping to resume their winning ways up north this week with games against Merrimack and Post University, but those games were postponed. If the weather cooperates, the team will be in action this weekend, a Saturday doubleheader at American International College in Springfield.
"It's a little strange, walking around playing in 85-degree weather, and then coming home and we've got freezing temperatures, and a foot of snow," Murphy said. "It stinks, but everybody up here is facing the same situation up here, so we'll deal with it."
Murphy is in his second season throwing for Stonehill; the tall righty is back in his long relief role, the same role he had as a freshman.
Murphy pitched on February 23, against Molloy College, at Myrtle Beach, and picked up the win in relief, the first W of his career, as the Skyhawks improved to 2-0 on the trip.
He was back on the hill the next day, Feb. 24, against Long Island University, also in Myrtle Beach. He didn't get a decision in a 9-8 Stonehill win.
Murphy was off for a couple of days, but went out on the hill in back to back games on March 5 and March 6. The Skyhawks lost to Wilmington at Miami Shores, but rebounded the next day in Boca Raton, with a 7-6 win over Bloomfield College.
Murphy said he's putting what he learned as a freshman into practice this year, and has even added a cutter this spring to his usual repertoire of fastballs and sliders.
"I think I pitched a little scared last year. I was trying to work around hitters instead of trying to strike everybody out. Now I'm focused more on attacking the plate, going right at guys trying to get them out," Murphy said. "Last year, I walked a lot of guys. I was in holes down 2-0. This year, I'm going right at guys and I'm facing a lot more guys up 0-2, which is a lot better situation to be in.
"My main focus this year is to attack hitters, pound the zone and get ahead of guys. Last year, I didn't want to make a mistake, and when you try to not make mistakes, you make mistakes," Murphy added. "I'm pitching with a heck of a lot more confidence this year, for sure. Really, the difference this year is confidence, and being ahead of hitters, it's made a lot of difference."
Murphy is an imposing 6-feet-5-inches, 225 pounds, bringing the heat on opposing batters.
He already has 15 K's and a win this season, sporting a 2.51 ERA, with 14.1 innings of service this spring. Murphy and his mates hope the games will go on this weekend. If not, next up on the Skyhawk schedule are a single game with Bentley scheduled for March 28, and a three-game series against St. Michael's at home -- a matchup on Thursday, March 29, and a twinbill on Saturday, March 31.
"It stinks with the weather up here putting us on hold for a little while. The same thing happened last year," Murphy added. "The coach said just stay focused and be ready when we can play."
This was originally published on the Swampscott Wicked Local and can be found at: http://swampscott.wickedlocal.com/sports/20180323/swampscotts-murphy-pitches-stonehill-to-strong-start