YPSILANTI, Mich. — The start of the 2012 baseball season could have been a whole lot better for the Eastern Michigan University baseball team.
The Eagles gave up 22 runs and suffered two losses at the University of South Carolina-Upstate Baseball Tournament played in Spartanburg, South Carolina at Harley Park, February 17-19, 2012.
The tournament ended Sunday afternoon when the southern sunny sky retreated behind the dark gray clouds opened up and washed away the game between the Eagles and the University of Dayton.
Opening up the tournament Friday afternoon against the host school the University of South Carolina-Upstate Spartans unfortunately for the Eagles the offense never got on track, the pitching staff struggled and the defense had way too many holes and the result – a big disappointing defeat.
The Spartans broke open the game in the fifth inning by scoring five runs in route to a 12-1 crushing of the Eagles.
Getting the starting assignment for the Eagles, Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander put the ball into the glove of right hander Steve Webber.
Webber worked hard for four innings but gave up eight hits and three earned runs before being replaced by Alexander with Jordan Glover.
The Eagle defense committed four errors including two by Glover.
The first run of the season for the Eagles came across home plate in the eighth inning when Eastern Michigan University designator hitter Lee Longo scored when Dae Bowden slapped a 2-2 pitch back up the middle scoring Longo.
Against the Spartans Eastern Michigan University could only manage seven hits all singles and stranded 11 base runners.
The showdown at noon on Saturday Feb 18, 2012 featured a team from the mighty Southeastern Conference but not stranger to the Eagle baseball program.
The University of Kentucky and the Eagles renewed their series, the Wildcats have 20 wins against the Eagles in 24 games.
The Wildcats wasted nothing against the Eagles , they took care of business at the plate, took care of business on the mound and the Eagles were out of business dropping a 10-2 decision to the University of Kentucky.
The bottom of the first inning the Eagles looked like they could be on the road to recovery and meant serious business but the Wildcat starting pitcher Jerad Grundy refocused and the past history for the Eagles of not being able to get the timely base hit surfaced.
The Eagles loaded the bases with two outs but left fielder Daniel Russell hit a weak ground to second base and just like that the inning and the scoring threat ended like the sunny blue sky.
All the damage the Eagles offense could do against the Wildcats is scatter eight hits and leaving 10 runners on base.
Starting for the Eagles, Joe Battiselli a pitcher that Alexander said is a quality pitcher gave up 10 hits, five runs and he threw 104 pitches working five and two-thirds innings.
Alexander and the Eagles would like a do-over, a chance to do it again because the Eagle only could manage three runs, spray 15 hits and made four errors. Improvement is something the Eagles will work at and get better-there is nothing to get upset or concern; it is just two games of a long baseball season.
The pitching staff worked seven pitchers and the two game total are not head turning but head-spinning. The Eagles gave up 17 earned runs, 26 hits, 12 base-on-balls and nine strike outs.
The spring trip continues with a trip to the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma where the wind comes whipping off of the hills surrounding the city.
Eastern Michigan University will play a three-game weekend series against Oral Roberts University starting Friday Feb 24, 2012 the first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
Alexander and the Eagles are hoping that the strong wind that blows across Oklahoma is enough to blow away the stench of the disaster of last weekend.
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.