YPSILANTI —- Last weekend the Eastern Michigan University baseball team dropped the series against Ball State University two games to one but still kept a grip on first place with the University of Toledo in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Eagle baseball coach Jay Alexander said his team will just have to put the past behind and be prepared for a solid baseball team this weekend from DeKalb, Illinois.
Alexander is hoping his team’s offense find their stroke in the batter’s box and that the starting pitching have command of their pitches against Northern Illionis University.
Both pitchers and both teams engaged in an old fashion pitching duel but Northern Illinois University Taylor Nawrocki out lasted the Eagles for eight innings and he gave up just two hit and defeated the Eagles 1-0 in earning his fourth win of the season.
Eastern Michigan University starting pitcher Neil Butara went nine innings, he only gave up just three hits, he struck out four batters but walking four including one in the top of the ninth inning that scored the winning the run on a two error play.
“Not surprising to see, we have been mediocre on defense for most of the year, “ Alexander said about his defense after the game. “The surprising part they did not get a hit that inning and they scored a run and that is the surprising part especially our guy pitched so well and don’t win that is pathetic.”
Northern Illinois University shortstop Alex Jones came across the plate after Huskies second baseman Alex Klonowski hit a sharp ground ball that Eastern Michigan University third baseman Ben Magsig got handcuffed with but he recovered and threw the ball across to first baseman Lee Longo and committed his 14 error of the season.
The ball dipped into the turf and Longo tried to scoop the ball but he flip the ball through the air and the ball fell to the ground.
Longo picked up the ball and in one motion let the ball go toward home to Eagles’ catcher Adam Dennison but the throw sailed away and out of the reach of Dennison scoring Jones.
“We can not make any excuse, one inning we had our lead off guy on and we bunt down and then we did not lay the bunt down but the guy struck out,” Alexander said. “It was a terrible terrible at bat but it is just one of those things and you got to take your hat off to there pitcher because he pitched a really well pitched game. I mean good pitching will destroy good offense any day.”
Butara threw 105 pitches for the game and Nawrocki threw 121 pitches recording seven strike outs and only walking two before being replaced by Kyle Glance who shut the door in the bottom of the ninth and earned his ninth save of the season.
“He is a great story, he is a kid that the first two years you did not want to see him out on the mound. His batting average against was over .400 and it was like somebody threw up here it comes, he is going to give up the house,” Alexander said about Butara. “He is a guy that is all ready cocky, a good kid but he is a cocky SOB and he works hard. The progression that a kid takes from his freshman to his junior year is where he his at and the jump you do not expect it to be that high but it is significant for him.
“He all ready had the arm, I think what you can contribute at the beginning, he was a catcher too so he was doing both and trying to figure out what he is gong to do and just pitching this year and now look at what happens.” Alexander continued .
Eastern Michigan University will continue the weekend series against the Northern Illinois University Huskies with an afternoon game Saturday April 28, 2012 at Oestrike Stadium beginning at 3 p.m. weather permitting.
“We got to hit the ball, we are going to find a live chicken, we are going to find some Buddha Dolls, I do not know man you tell me.” Alexander said about getting his team ready for the tomorrow afternoon’s game. “Flip a coin, change up the line up we had some really bad at bats so I am thinking about sitting some guys. I put no more pressure on them guys. I put more pressure on myself and my staff in these kind of games because it is something we did not do in my opinion that did not get our guys ready to play.”
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.