Baseball: Former WSU camper turns into freshman leader
Wright State freshman catcher Sean Murphy has been around the program longer than some seniors on the team. Coincidentally, he is playing like a seasoned veteran.
Four weeks into the Raiders’ season, he has started in all 15 games for the Raiders and provided a significant boost offensively. He is tied for the team lead for RBIs with teammate Michael Timm with nine.
Murphy was also selected as the Horizon League Batter of the Week on Tuesday for the week ending March 9.
“As a freshman coming into Division I, it is a lot of pressure especially as a catcher because you can’t hide,” Wright State head coach Greg Lovelady said. “He has done a great job. His first couple games, he did real well.”
The Raiders (6-9) are on a three-game winning streak heading into conference play this weekend and Murphy has led the charge. He has had multi-hit games in all three of last weekend’s victories.
Murphy, a native of Centerville, started coming to Wright State baseball camps in the eighth grade. Murphy and Lovelady spent a lot of time getting to know each other as Lovelady taught Murphy the fundamentals behind the plate. Lovelady was the University of Miami’s catcher for its national titles in 1999 and 2001.
“(He taught) techniques, approaches, things to look for, everything you have to do back there and it has been a huge help making the adjustment (to college),” Murphy said.
Lovelady said it is tough to see Murphy as a freshman considering his time around Wright State.
“You could tell he really bought into my camps,” Lovelady said. “The drills we do today, he as been doing since the eighth grade. It is funny how his dad said he would come home from camps with welts on his arms and getting beat up but he really worked at it. He started growing late and he has been maturing of late.”
In Sunday’s 13-1 win over Dayton, Lovelady opted to have Murphy start as a designated hitter rather than behind the plate. It was a decision that led to three runs being scored by Murphy and two driven in.
“He has been hot all weekend, it is kind of hard for me to take a guy like that out of the lineup,” Lovelady said. “I wanted to give him a break from behind the plate but we needed his bat in the lineup. He has worked really hard.”
The quantity of playing time he has received has surprised Murphy.
“I knew I would have to compete for a job, I didn’t expect to take it right away,” he said. “We competed during the fall and it turns out I am able to contribute.”
Murphy was among many Raiders who had a breakout weekend. After averaging 2.4 runs per game offensively, the Raiders posted eight or more runs in their last three games.
To add to the confidence going into conference play which starts Friday, the Raiders were able to beat their crosstown rivals Dayton by a combined margin of 21-5 over two games.
Timm said playing top programs like Oregon State and Michigan State early in the season is helping the Raiders offensively.
“It is definitely a good thing (to hit the ball well), we have played some tough teams so far and faced some tough pitching,” Timm said. “It is definitely going to make us better when it starts getting serious going into conference play.”
Wright State also defeated Bradley last Saturday 9-7 after falling to the Braves in last Friday’s home opener.