YPSILANTI — It is what the doctor ordered!
Eastern Michigan University baseball team opened up the 2012 Mid-American Conference over the weekend March 24-26 with a three game home stand against Miami University at the friendliest corner in the league inside Oestrike Stadium.
Eagle baseball coach Jay Alexander is guiding his squad through some though times, injuries to the pitching staff, the inability to get the timely hitting and to extend innings and the Eagles defense on the diamond need to improve.
“We have had a lot of arm injuries which is very unfortunate, our closer went down for the year with Tommy John. We have two middle relief go down for the year with Tommy John.” Alexander said. “Defense and pitching giving up almost 10 runs a game and make three or four errors a game it is tough especially against good teams.”
Eastern Michigan University is ready to put all that behind them and concentrate on getting better as a team and keep the focus on the prize.
Winning the Mid-American Conference baseball title and getting the NCAA Baseball Tournament bid.
The Eagles managed to win the series against the Red Hawks two games to one even though dropping Friday afternoon’s game 9-1 but the Eagles showed toughness Saturday and Sunday by out pitching and getting the timely hit and by flashing leather making stellar defense plays.
Friday afternoon, under a blue sky and warm sunshine, Eagles’ starter Steve Webber struggled for three and one-third of an inning giving up nine hits and seven runs.
Alexander went to the bullpen and gave the ball in the capable hands of Jordan Glover and Collin Taylor.
Glover faced seven hitters and struck out two before Alexander made the call to Taylor.
Taylor threw 77 pitches and struck out nine while he worked four and a third and gave up five hits.
When the sun came up Saturday morning the Eagles the day look ominous but when it became time to play baseball the day improved just like the Eagles defeating Miami University 3-1 and even the series and the conference record.
Alexander changed his line up and placed first baseman Ben Magsig on the top of the batting order, Magsig responded to the change by getting a hit Saturday and two more hits on Sunday and scoring two runs.
Brent Ohrman moved from the outfield to play third base Saturday and Sunday and he showed that he posses a strong arm and the ability to make plays at third, he did not make an error.
Ohrman offense is improving he finished the series against the Red hawks with three hits and two runs batted in and Alexander moved Ohrman up in the line up from batting sixth into the important second spot in the batting line up card.
Saturday’s starting pitcher Neil Butara is proving that the experiment that Alexander is conducting is a success.
“Neil is the biggest turn around than any body,” Alexander said about Butara progress on the mound. “Now we are going to pitch him as a starter, it was an experiment to see how it would work and he looked pretty damn good.”
Butara earned his second victory of the season by working seven and one third of an inning giving up nine hits but only one earned run.
Alexander sent out the call to the bullpen and brought into the game Paul Schaak in the eighth inning with one out.
Schaak slam the door and finished the game facing seven Red Hawks and striking out two and recording his first career save.
Sunday afternoon the prayers of the Eagles were answered and the Eagles defeated the Red Hawks 4-2, Eastern Michigan University took advantage of three errors and pounded out 10 hits.
Stepping out of the dugout and starting for the Eagles Sunday afternoon, Ryan Lavoie worked five and one third of an inning striking out two and walking one but Lavoie did not give up a run.
Making an appearance on the mound for the Eagles Joe Battistelli, he finished the final three and two thirds and recorded his first save of the season.
Alexander described Battistelli as his go-to-guy and he is a bulldog on the mound and did not like to give up the ball once he got to the mound.
Eagles designator hitter Lee Longo and Magsig contributed to the offense by getting two hits.
Eastern Michigan University scored three runs in the seventh inning to gain control of the game but the Eagles had to hold on as the Red Hawks scored two runs in the eighth inning but Battistelli bared down and got out of the inning and the saved the win for the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan University will be on the road Tuesday March 27, 2012 for game against the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio with the first pitch scheduled to cross the plate at 6:35 p.m.
The Eagles return to Oestrike Stadium Wednesday March 28, 2012 to face the University of Michigan, the game is scheduled to start at 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.