YPSILANTI, Mich. —- It is not a pleasant feeling!
Eastern Michigan University finished the three game series this weekend against Kent State University by getting swept by the Golden Flashes and falling from first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division into a three way tie for fourth place two games behind the division leading University of Toledo.
With the warmth of spring surrounding Olga A. Mural Field in Schoonover Stadium the Eagles walked off of the field looking back at the scoreboard which told the story of an 8-5 defeat.
The Eagles started the day in good shape when right fielder Ken Battiston doubled into left field and he scored on a Zack Leonard sacrifice fly into deep left field.
Battiston ended the day with three hits and joining Battiston offense contribution Eagle shortstop Tucker Rubino with three hits including his first home run of the season.
Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander started Steve Webber and he looked for some quality innings from Webber.
Alexander says that he thinks that Webber gives his team a chance to get into ballgames because he is a battler.
Webber could only go three and two-thirds of an inning giving up five hits and two earned runs but could only strike out one Kent State batter before he gave way to the Eagle bullpen.
The parade of relief pitching began with Collin Taylor, Joe Battistelli, Brain Valente and finishing the day for the Eagles Alexander place the ball into the glove of Kristian Calibuso.
Alexander said early in the season he thought that the bullpen would be the strength of his pitching staff, so far the bullpen is not putting games away and too many times they struggle in controlling the fastball and finding the strike zone.
Sunday’s afternoon game performance proved to be the way the season is unfolding for the Eagles.
The bullpen combined and gave up eight hits and four earned runs which might not seem too bad but when you add no strike outs; the Eagles relief pitching is just not performing.
Golden Flashes offense led by catcher David Lyon with three hits including a home run over the right field fence in the fourth inning. Joining Lyon hitting the long ball for Kent State third baseman Travis Shaw who finished the day with two hits and one run batted in.
“Our entire lineup had really good at-bats, one through nine,” Kent State University baseball coach Scott Strickland said about his team’s offense. “Everybody contributed and it was a good team win.”
“Today was big!” Shaw said. “We wanted to come out here and get the sweep and assert ourselves as the dominate team in this conference. From the bottom to the top, we did a great job offensively.”
Starting for Strickland another left hander David Starn, the third left handed pitcher the Eagles faced in three days.
Starn pitched six and one-third of an inning striking out five, walking two and only giving up two earned runs in route to his fourth win of the season.
“David (Starn) did not have his best stuff today but still only give up two runs,” Strickland said about his starting pitcher. “He really battled and competed and he did a great job!”
The Eagles tried to make the game into a nail biting contest in the ninth inning by scoring three runs but Strickland reach into his bullpen and brought out Kyle McMillen who came into the game and put out the fire to record his eighth save of the season and preserve the win for the Golden Flashes.
Kent State University is riding a nine game winning streak while the Eagles suffer their first sweep of the season.
Eastern Michigan University will not have time to dwell on the weekend defeat; the Eagles will travel to the shore of Lake Erie and the bright neon lights of Cleveland, Ohio and try to avenge a home loss to the Vikings earlier this season by getting a win Tuesday April 12, 2011 beginning at 5 p.m.
The Eagles will continue league play next weekend April 15-17, 2011 against the University of Akron starting Friday night under the lights at the coziest baseball field in the Mid-American Conference Oestrike Stadium the first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.