YPSILANTI — Oh man there is nothing better than good old fashion home cooking!
After spending 17 days on the road the Eastern Michigan University baseball team finally found there way back to the friendliest corner in the Mid-American Conference.
“Oh man it is 100 percent outstanding to be home,” Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander said.
Eastern Michigan University rolled out the welcome mat for a visit from Niagara University over the Saint Patrick Day weekend.
Friday afternoon’s game the Eagles took advantage of seven errors made by the Purple Eagle defense and Eastern Michigan University defeated Niagara 19-10 and Saturday afternoon the Eagles defeated the Purple Eagles 15-1 and winning the series.
Saturday afternoon’s game the Eagles behind the strong pitching of Neil Butara and the strength of red-shirt junior right fielder Jamie Simpson who hit his first home run of the season.
“He is not even a starter,” Alexander said about Simpson. “Kinder (Bo) is playing very well right now and that is one of those unfortunate things it might be a righty or lefty thing type of deal played tomorrow over Russell and then Kinder get back in the line up. We have four outfielders that flat out can play it is a tough decision but it is a great problem to have.”
“Neil is probably the biggest turn around out of anybody,” Alexander said about his right hander performance. “We have had a lot of arm injuries which is unfortunate our closer went down for the year with Tommy John we had two middle relief guys out for the year with the Tommy John in so Neil is our next closer he is 90-94 now we are going to pitch him as a starter.”
Butara worked six innings and only gave up three hits, he struck out seven while only walking three in getting his first victory of the season.
The Eagles bats that have been dormant during the spring trip came alive Friday and Saturday pounding out 33 hits and scoring 34 runs and forcing the Purple Eagles to commit 10 errors.
Niagara University baseball coach Rob McCoy is trying to figure out how to get Eastern Michigan University designated hitter Lee Longo out because after two games Longo is 8 of 8 and scored six runs.
McCoy said after the game he just reminded his team that they have to remain focused on being champions and a quote from the movie Rocky it is not about whether you win or lose but how hard that you can get hit and be able to move on and get up from the canvas.
“We have talked about all year so far about being champions,” McCoy said. “Being champions in every part of life. Being champions on the field, being champions in every minor thing we do from the littlest thing to the biggest thing.”
McCoy said his team will forget the last two days and come back Sunday afternoon ready to play.
“We have taken two pretty good punches,” McCoy said. “Eastern is good at the plate and they exposed our weakness but tomorrow is another day and I expect them to come out ready I fully expect them to response with energy and passion with the will to win.”
Eastern Michigan University will close out the weekend series against Niagara University Sunday afternoon at Oestrike Stadium with some real good home cooking and the first pitch scheduled to cross home plate at 1 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.