When the season first began for the Duke Tigers baseball team, hopes and expectations were soaring among the Duke community.
Just four games into the season, they found themselves with a solid 4-0 record and two no-hitters against Big Pasture.
They fought to put themselves in a great position in the young season with solid hitting and pitching and showed no signs of slowing down.
But then something happened to their magical season and things started to go very wrong for the Tigers.
After outscoring their opponents an incredible 39-10 in the first four games, they have now been outscored 24-13 in four consecutive losses.
There is a lot of baseball still left to be played, but one has to wonder what happened to tame the ferocious Tigers that started the season off on a tear.
Their downward spiral began on Aug. 18, in an 8-3 loss against the Chattanooga Warriors.
It was a game that saw the Tigers need five innings to get their three runs on the board and a game in which four Tiger errors derailed any hope they might have had in rallying for a win.
They used three pitchers in the game with each going two innings.
Orin McGee had a rough outing, allowing two hits, walking three and giving up two earned runs.
Dawson Brooks’ two innings were similar to McGee’s as he allowed one hit, one run and walked three.
Hayden Brown pitched a solid two innings allowing only one hit and zero runs while striking out two.
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
On Saturday the Tigers battled the Geronimo Bluejays in a back-and-forth contest in which the Bluejays outlasted the Tigers 12-10 in seven innings.
Duke did its part early, jumping ahead by a score of 4-0 in the first inning before the bats fell flat until the fifth.
The Bluejays rallied back scoring one in the first, one in the third, and three in the fouth to take a 5-4 lead over the Tigers.
But the Tigers put four of their own across the plate in the fifth to retake the lead by a score of 8-5.
The Bluejays fought back mightily and drove in three runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game up at 8.
The Tigers were able to put up two more runs in the top of the seventh to take a 10-8 lead, but the lead was short lived as the Bluejays scored four and took down the Tigers 12-10.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, there was still a belief amongst the team that things could be turned around and quickly.
They traveled to Fletcher on Monday for a doubleheader, knowing that this was their chance to get it together.
They played well with McGee getting the nod at pitcher and going four and two-thirds innings, allowing only one run and striking out five.
But it still was not enough as the Fletcher Wildcats were able to take advantage of a late hit and score what was the game winning point.
Having now dropped three straight, the Tigers were starting to feel a little panicked and rightfully so.
They would not be able to overcome the Wildcats in the second game of their doubleheader and they headed back to Duke on a four-game skid.
The season is still young. There is still plenty that the Tigers can do to get back to the team they were just four games ago.
During this four-game losing streak, they have allowed errors and poor decisions to put a blemish on their once perfect record.
Now they regroup and try to figure out how to plug the hole in their sinking ship.
They take on the Indiahoma Warriors next in a doubleheader, still fighting to get back to where they started.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.