TAMPA — Your old uncle is happy today!
There is a spring in your old uncle’s step because friends from Ypsilanti, Michigan are coming to visit, the sunny but chilly shores and beaches of the gulf and the bay.
Beginning Friday night, Eastern Michigan University baseball team will be ready to start a three game series against the University of South Florida at the USF Baseball Stadium, where the Bulls have a .647 winning percentage.
USF opened up the 2016 NCAA Baseball season last weekend with Liberty University and won the series 2-1 against the Flames but lost the midweek game Florida Gulf Coast University.
Eastern Michigan University started the road trip from Ypsilanti by first stopping in Emerson, Georgia and winning by winning two games from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and from New Jersey Institutes of Technology.
EMU arrive in the state of Florida, Tuesday Feb 23, in Gainesville to take on in a brief two game series against the No.1 team in the NCAA the University of Florida. The Eagles did lose both games but they made things interesting for the Gators. EMU gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lose Wednesday night 7-6.
So both teams will be starting with .500 records. The series is five games old with USF holding a 3-2 advantage they have not seen each other since 2005.
Entering his second season leading the Eagles from the bench, Mark Van Ameyde. He is leading the Eagles rich baseball program into a new era and a new game plan.
Van Ameyde is using speed as a weapon for the Eagles and that is different. EMU leads the NCAA in steals with 26 and is fifth in the nation with 64 hits. Redshirt junior Marquise Gill leads the nation with nine steals.
Leading the offense from the batter’s box for the Eagles, Brennan Williams with a batting average of .478, he has one home run and six RBI’s in the first six games of the season.
Eastern Michigan University pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.03 and is led by Augie Gallardo with a record of 1-0 in two appearances. He has thrown 7.1 innings while striking out 10 and only walking just one batter.
USF is hitting .283 but has been outscored 32-23, USF baseball coach Mark Kingston said that his team will get better in every phase of the game and will need to be better against EMU.
USF pitching staff’s ERA of 6.25 and 28 base-on-balls is unacceptable to Kingston.
“Starters need to get better, defense need to get better and coaches and players need to get better because it is a long season,” Kingston said. “All of us need to get better!”
Uncle Mel believes that it will be nice to see some old friends from Ypsilanti but he is also ready to greet and shake the hands of new friends from the city that hugs the mighty Huron River.
If the Eagles just stay the course, respect the game and play hard then there trip to the state of Florida might not be a horrible experience.
EMU might be leaving the shores of the Gulf of Mexico feeling happy.
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.