YPSILANTI —- The chances were there but Eastern Michigan University baseball team just couldn’t get the timely hit and for the first time as the baseball coach of the Eagles, Jay Alexander and his squad will not be playing in the Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament.
Eastern Michigan University only had to win one more game to get a chance to play in the tournament but the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker to the University of Toledo 6-5, Saturday afternoon at Oestrike Stadium.
Alexander disappointed after the game said that his team did not take advantage of playing the most important game at home, especially in the late innings.
“It’s disappointing, it’s sad and it is the whole nine yards, we made our bed and we laid in it,” Alexander said. “same bed we started at the beginning of the year we ended it, the little things and after every damn practice we talk about doing the little things well.”
The Eagles failed to communicate twice in the first inning, Rockets lead off batter center fielder Tyler Grogg dropped down a bunt that he beat out for a single. The next batter Toledo’s second baseman Deion Tansel in a sacrifice situation dropped another bunt down in a great spot.
Eagles third baseman Jamie Simpson and Eagles starting pitcher Paul Schaak failed to communicate and Tansel made it safely into first base.
Schaak threw just four pitches in the ball game and the Eagles fell behind the Rockets, 2-0 before the crowd of 211 could get comfortable in their seats.
“In the beginning of the game we practice that right side communication every single day we actually did it Wednesday,” Alexander said about the early miscommunication by the Eagles infield. “We practiced it again to go over it so we can defend it. We didn’t do it we broke down on the first bunt for a hit what are you going to do. The second one was miscommunication by guys out of position so that cost us a couple of runs there.”
“In my eyes, everything lost the game today,” Alexander said. “We didn’t do anything right!”
Another situation that the Eagles failed to execute, in the ninth inning with runners on first and second, the Eagles best batters coming up and they could not move the runners.
Eagles right fielder Sam Ott lifted a pop up to Tansel for the second out of the ninth inning leaving it up to Eagles designated hitter Lee Longo to be a hero and send the Eagles packing for the tournament and putting a little more pleasure in the air of celebrating Senior Day.
Instead Longo watched a pitch sail across the plate for strike three and the end of the season for the Eagles.
In the sixth inning the Eagles Longo hit a line drive into the left field corner for a double with no outs and the Eagles could not move him over or get him home.
Rocket relief pitcher Austin Schmidt released a wild pitch and Longo moving over to third base with two outs.
Eagles catcher Adam Sonabend and then Simpson hit a ground ball to Toledo’s shortstop Nate Langhals to record the first two outs and keeping Longo at third base. The next batter Eastern Michigan University left fielder Austin Wilson stood by the plate and watched a third strike go across the plate.
“Our two best hitters are up and we get two ground balls to the shortstop absolutely pathetic,” Alexander said. “Hit the ball the other way, the little things that we talk about and we had two of our best hitters up and we didn’t do it.”
The play of the game happened in the eighth inning when Eagles relief pitcher Kristian Calibuso after striking out the first two Toledo batters that he faced, he then gave up a two out walk to Toledo’s third baseman John Martillotta – a .212 hitter who did not have a hit in the game.
Martillotta steals second base and then scoring on a base hit by Grogg, Alexander said that was the run that beat the Eagles.
“In the eighth we get a freaking two out walk by Kristian,” Alexander said. “A two out walk and then he doesn’t hold the runner on he steals easy and then a base hit and guess what and there it is right there but it not that thing that lost the game it is everything all rolled up into one.”
Alexander said he will prepare for next season and he will be teaching doing the little things, he will be seeing a new group of players and he is hoping that they learn how to do the little things consistently.
“If you can’t win at home which we can’t we couldn’t win here this year,” Alexander said. “You are not going to win and that is the bottom line. At home is supposed to be your saving grace you are suppose to do well and we didn’t”
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.