YPSILANTI, Mich. — Well sometime the wind of good fortune can blow and change the direction of destiny.
Eastern Michigan University continued the Mid-American Conference season against the East Division by hosting the University of Akron at the friendliest confines in the league Oestrike Stadium and the Zips started the game searching for their first conference win in nine games.
The Eagles could not hold onto the lead and the defense could not field the ball cleanly committing four errors and the Eagles watched as Akron walked away and boarded the bus with a 5-2 win.
In the third inning the Eagle defense made the game interesting by making three consecutive errors, two by third baseman Ben Magsig and Eagle first baseman Lee Longo could not handle any throw and searched for help as the wind that whipped across the field, played tricks with the throws coming from across the diamond.
Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander went to the mound and instead of making a pitching change he changed first baseman change replacing Longo with Kyle Klein.
“You play like that and you do not deserve to win and even an 0-9 team should beat you any day,” Alexander said about the play of the Eagles’ defense. “We were the bad news bears today!.”
Alexander stayed with his rotation and started Robert Wendzicki and he worked just four and two-third innings giving up eight hits and only charged with two earned runs and finished his day with two strike outs.
Alexander said he believed that a combination of the weather and the poor execution did not help the Wendzicki ‘s outing.
“It was a little of both, he kept the ball up way too much,” Alexander said about his starting pitcher after the game. “With the wind and that is not much of an excuse but with the wind he had trouble controlling his fast ball.”
Going to the bullpen Alexander replaced Wendzicki with relief pitcher Joe Battestelli who finished the game for the Eagles by throwing the last four and one-third innings and shutting the door on the Zips offense by allowing no hits, no runs and striking out two.
Eastern Michigan University offense had a chance in the second inning to press the Zips and their starting pitcher Andrew Brown but a poor running decision made by Eagle catcher Matt Hitt ended the scoring treat and put the Eagles back onto their collective heels.
Center fielder Brent Orhman at bat when Battiston took off from first and sliding into second base with his fifth stolen base of the season. Hitt thought that he seen an opening and took off for the plate only to feel the sting of Akron’s catcher Dan Burant’s catcher mitt with the ball securely wedged inside hit him with the tag for the third out of the inning ending the scouring threat.
Alexander described the decision made by his young catcher someting that should have been planned out more in advance.
“I told him that it was the dumbest thing that I have ever seen,” Alexander said standing inside the Eagles dugout.
Brown pitched good strong eight innings giving up nine hits and striking out seven before being replaced in the ninth inning by Chris Bassitt.
“It was one of his toughest, Eastern Michigan got some out standing hitters,” University of Akron baseball coach Pat Bangtson said after the game about his pitchers performance against the Eagles. “There is a challenge one through nine hitters right through the order but he has been consistent all year long. It is not one of his best but his toughest.”
The Eagles are hoping for a fairer wind Saturday afternoon as the series continues at Oestrike Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 3 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.