YPSILANTI, Mich. —- Well nieces and nephews it sure is good to see y’all, well come on in the house and rest a spell and let Uncle Mel get something smooth to sip on while we talk about Eastern Michigan University baseball.
Early in the season Uncle Mel looked at this baseball team and the accomplishment that they have done and well it felt like a warm spring night, full of promise and a chance to make some strides down the Mid-American Conference yellow-brick highway.
Eastern Michigan University supporting first place in the West Division and the overall record kept people bragging about the Eagles.
The Eagles went into Kent State University during the weekend of April 8-10 2011 and looked at the top pitching staff in the league and to paraphrase the late and great Ernie Harwell they stood there like the house on the side of the road.
Overwhelmed and overmatched the Eagles were swept by the Golden Flashes and the decent started. Before the start of Sunday afternoon’s game the Eagles were suffering through a five game losing streak and fell from the top of the division to last place.
Uncle Mel looked at the trusty Eastern Michigan University schedule and saw that this weekend April 15-17 the Eagles would be in the cozy corner confines of Oestrike Stadium and face the losers of nine Mid-American Conference games without a conference win the University of Akron come visiting, well Uncle Mel felt better and thought the Zips would be the medicine that could cure the Eagles.
Friday afternoon’s game was supposed to be played under the lights but Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander thought that the weather channel forecast of wet and cold weather might be a distraction for the Eagles so he moved the start of the game to 3 p.m.
Too bad because his team missed the start time and with a favorable wind blowing across the cozy corner, the Eagles dropped the opener of the series against the Zips 5-2
The Eagles offense collected nine hits and starting pitcher Robert Wendzicki deserved a better result but the infield defense could not find the handle of the baseball and made four errors, two on third baseman Ben Magsig and two by first baseman Lee Longo causing Alexander to gather his team on the mound and make a change at first base, giving Kyle Klein an opportunity on the corner.
Alexander said after the game Friday afternoon his team did not deserve to win the game even against a team that is 0-9 in the conference.
Saturday afternoon brought more wind and overcast sky, the Eagles could not hold on to a lead against the Zips and fell 14-7, Akron’s offense unleashed there highest total of hits for the season by pounding out 18 hits and Alexander used four pitchers while searching for any type of answer against the Zips.
Eagles started Corey Chaffins and he worked five and two-thirds of an inning giving up six run, striking out seven and walking four but he struggled with the 90 pitches he threw forced Alexander to work the bull pen.
The combination of Collin Taylor, Tim Combs and Kristan Calibuso did not perform well for the Eagles as they combined for 10 hits, eight earned runs while only able to get two strike outs the good news that they did not surrender and base on balls.
The brisk westerly wind Sunday afternoon swept away the stench of Saturday’s game and the Eagles produced a lineup that took advantage of the condition and once again made the cozy corner and friendly place.
The Eagles offense scattered 16 hits against the Zips led by Magsig and designated hitter Sam Ott both providing the bats and the hits to lead the comeback for the Eagles
Akron took advantage of another Eastern Michigan University miscue and was leading 4-1 putting the Eagles’ back against the wall but the Eagle offense woke up in the fifth inning and scored five runs to open up the contest.
“It is about time, we struggled all weekend long,” Alexander said about his team’s effort. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and our big guys just did not do it early we did a lot of cage work and I told them to just ‘relax!’”
Magsig hit his third home run of the season by lifting a fly ball into the jet stream blowing out of Oestrike Stadium and clearing the right field fence.
Ott’s name appeared on the line up card because Alexander said that he wanted to take advantage of the wind by loading up on the left side of the plate. Ott went 2 of 4 which included his first home run of his career and four runs batted in.
“Sam (Ott) has been competing all year. He has been waiting for his opportunity and he seized the day,” Alexander said about Ott’s performance. “A chance I took stocking up on lefties cause the wind was blowing out toward right.”
Steve Webber started the game for the Eagles and he did a nice job on the hill according Alexander but he said the performance of the day belonged to Jordan Glover earning his first save of the season.
“Jordan (Glover) has been flirting in coming in on the weekend,” Alexander said about the future of Glover. “He has a great ERA and he has been doing very well for us and now we have more confidence in him he is competitive and we expect that from him.”
Glover faced 13 batters and struck out four and did not give up a run and only two hits.
Eastern Michigan University will continue the battle of baseball supremacy of the county Wednesday evening April 20, 2011 at historical Fisher Stadium the home of the University of Michigan beginning at 6 p.m.
“We will use Michigan as a tune up getting ready for the MAC West,” Alexander said.
Eastern Michigan University will celebrate Easter Sunday weekend with a three game set against Western Michigan University and according to Alexander the Broncos are a very well coached team and improved team and the Eagles will have to play well and limit the mistakes.
Like finding hidden Easter Eggs, Uncle Mel is hoping the Eagles can find some wins against Western Michigan University now that would be something to talk about with all of my nieces and nephews.
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.