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Archive for February, 2011

Otters Split with UCSD, Chico Up Next

Our program took a big step forward this past weekend. With inspired play and a huge dose of toughness, we split with then ranked #1 team in the country UC San Diego. It was a spirited, hard fought weekend and we are extremely proud of our players effort and the way they represented our program and University. We were on the brink of wining series in the last game, as we had the winning run at 2nd base with 0 outs in the bottom of the 7th inning (second game of doubleheader is 7 innings).

It was a total team effort on the weekend. The offense was consistent and aggressive, out hitting UCSD 19 hits to 14 in games 3 and 4 on Sunday. Danny Nelson led the charge by hitting 3 doubles and notching 4 RBI’s on the day. Alex Mangubat also provided a spark by putting up 2 hits and an RBI in the 5-3 win in game 2.

The starting pitchers were fantastic on the weekend. Aaron Appino went deep in the game in the losing effort in Game 1. Scott Tully was the star of the series by throwing a complete game in game 2 to secure the win for CSUMB. Jake Crose picked up his first collegiate win in Game 3, tossing 7 strong innings before Paul Brock picked up his 1st save of the season to secure the victory.

The series split put us at 2-2 in CCAA play and right in the thick of things in the conference race to the playoffs. More importantly the series provided our players with the opportunity to showcase their hard work commitment to how we play the game. The core philosophy of this program is to treat each other the right way and to have a great experience, and to watch our team play is a shining example of how they embody that mission.

There is never a weekend off in the CCAA, as we take on perennial power Chico State next. The Wildcats come to town for another home series March 4 – 6th. Game time Friday is 2:00, Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 11am, and Sunday’s single game is slated for 11am. Come out and support your upstart Otters as they battle another tough CCAA foe.

Danny Nelson

Argos Make History

What a great week to be an Argonaut!  For the first time in school history, we are ranked in the top 10 in the country! Cblineup has us ranked at #8, and the College Baseball Newspaper has us ranked #6.  I can’t really describe it, but there’s a different feeling when you tell someone, “we’re ranked number 6″.  Speaking for everyone on our team, we are excited about being ranked this high, because we know we are good!  We know that position for position, any team that comes in will not compare to what we have here at UWF.

CG 1 hit shut out!!!

Soooooo last week we had Delta State come into Pensacola, and we took it to them with a series sweep!  The first game was a 12-6 victory.  Tino Martinez Watch List pitcher Jason Postill did what he does best, shutting down opponents lineups with the nasty Volcan (change-up).  He gave us 2 earned runs, and his E.R.A is 0.86 and he has 21 K’s in 21 innings.  Against Delta State, he went 8 ip with 10 k’s.  A dominating performance!

Game 2 was started by Ben Hawkins, and again he had a great outing.  Hawkins went 6 innings, with 8 k’s and holds an impressive record of 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA.  Hawkins gave up 1 run in his outing against Delta State, and the offense scored 10 runs.  Game 3 was the most impressive of the series!  Sr. Danny Vargas delivered an unbelievable complete game 1 hitter to secure the sweep.

Sr. Zach North

The week leading up to the weekend was great.  We had 4 great days of practice, and we were all ready to get out on the field and prove that we were the superior team.  We worked a lot on bunting and hitting curve balls, because we knew that Delta State was going to throw a lot of off speed, and that we needed to be able to scratch across runs by getting guys into scoring position.

We have a HUGE series against #2 Florida Southern this weekend.  The guys have had this one circled on our calenders since the schedule was released.  Going back to last year, we lost the series to Fl Southern, and the way we lost left a bad taste in our mouths, and we’ve been waiting for the chance to get back on the field with them.  We aren’t setting the series up to be bigger than any other series, but its hard to down play the chance of playing the #2 team when we are ranked #6.  We should have a good crowd out at the field, and if we take care of business, there’s no doubt we are confident that we’ll come out on top.

Now for my pitching update…. Drum roll please……….  I pitched great in an inning of work during the week.  Most people on the team thought it was the best I had thrown, and I couldn’t argue with that.  I did hit the lead off batter with a slider, but of 6 hitters faced, I started 5 of them off with strikes.  I threw more strikes than balls, and had a strike out.  I would have gotten out of the inning without giving up a run, but a potential double play ball was bobbled, so a run scored.  I had Zach North video tape me throwing in the game and I uploaded it on youtube so my followers could see me in game action.  UWF BASEBALL PHIL EBERT.  I thought I pitched great, but the frustrating thing about it was that the adjustments I was trying to make with bringing my arm back differently wasn’t evident in the footage.  BUT, the good news is that in the next bullpen I threw my arm was going back the way I wanted and I would say I threw the BEST bullpen of my short pitching career.  I didn’t have someone keeping the stats, but I would have said I was around 70%  strikes, which is great!!  My change-up is feeling more and more comfortable, and I’m still working hard on getting some consistency with the slider.   Here are a few fastballs while I was throwing a tune pen before I throw in a squad game on Wednesday (2/22) (BULLPEN FOOTAGE)  I’ll do my best to have some game footage from Wednesday.

Hugs was 7-10 in the sweep of Delta State

Everyone wish the Argos some luck for this weekend as we take on Fl. Southern!

No questions again this week, but don’t hesitate to send in anything you may want to know at Philipebertuwf@yahoo.com

Also, follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/phillybert36

Thanks Again!

Philip Ebert 36

GO ARGOS!

Tino Watch Spotlight – Blake Amaral, Hawai’i Pacific University

Roughly 2,500 miles surround the islands of Hawai’i and the rest of world of college baseball, but that hasn’t deterred the Sea Warriors of Hawai’i Pacific University from leaving their mark on Division II college baseball.  In just a handful of seasons at the helm, Head Coach Garrett Yukumoto has taken the Sea Wolves, from what many would thought could only be a mediocre-at-best program, to within a single game of the DII College World Series.  He’s done it with a mix of hard working, selfless players from both the mainland and the islands.  None of these players may exemplify that grit more than junior third baseman Blake Amaral.

We were fortunate to get Blake from the big island,” explains Coach Yukumoto.  “Coming out of high school he had other offers but chose Hawaii Pacific to stay home”.

Although he was recruited as a third baseman, Amaral was asked to fill a void left in the outfield left by graduation his freshman year.  Despite stepping out of his comfort zone he made an immediate impact, hitting .386 with five homers while driving in 46.

Coach Yukumoto had little doubt that the change in scenery on defense would affect his production at the plate. “Whatever you need him for, he’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win,” Yukoumoto explained, “We thought Blake was athletic enough to make the transition and help the program in terms of what we needed and he adjusted well”.

So well that on April 26th Amaral set the school single game RBI record when he drove in ten runs during a 4-for-5 effort against his hometown Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans.  After the season he was awarded for his efforts by earning both the Pac West Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.

Occasionally when a player has as solid an initial campaign as Amaral did, they can press a bit in their sophomore season; especially when the element of surprise is a thing of the past.  Nonetheless, Amaral continued to thrive at the plate.  He raised his season batting average to .404 (fourth in the conference), said “Aloha” to eight balls and launched them over the fence and set the HPU single season record with 56 RBI.  His efforts helped Hawaii Pacific to a 39-12 record and the program’s first trip to the NCAA West Regional Tournament.  The newcomers didn’t disappoint.  Despite dropping the opener in a lopsided loss to top ranked UC San Diego, the Sea Warriors, much to the surprise of many, sent Division II powerhouse Chico State packing before sending upstart Cal State Dominguez Hills home as well.

After his two standout seasons in Honolulu, Amaral has been named to this season’s initial Tino Martinez Award Watch List for the most outstanding player in DII baseball.  He’ll be returning to his home on the hot corner and be the key to the Sea Warriors offensive attack hitting in the three hole.  It won’t just be opposing pitchers who will have their eyes on him either.  As he continues to develop he’ll also grab glances from pro scouts.  “If Blake can overcome and persevere through the attention (of getting a chance to play pro ball) then he should be at the next level next year,” Coach Yukumoto predicts, “I tip my hat off for him”.

Bieber Fever??

Hello Everyone,

Welcome back to my blog. We returned from our first week of play at Clearwater, Fla., and were welcomed back to Pittsburgh with roughly 10 inches of snow immediately after our arrival. Unfortunately, we are supposed to open the new Petersen Sports Complex this weekend with a three-game series against IPFW. An optimist would suggest that all it will take to make this possible is a couple of warm days (and when I say warm I mean over 40 degrees) and all of the snow will melt off of the turf. Realistically however, there’s a better chance of me going to see Justin Bieber’s new movie “Never Say Never.” Don’t get me wrong, I think the kid’s an innovator, but I don’t get how he could have a movie documenting his life at 16 years old.

But I digress. This weekend delivered a series of compounding challenges that the mighty PITT Panthers had to come. First of all, we ran out of sun tan lotion, resulting in some serious sun burn for a majority of the players. Luckily, the tans are starting to set in. If anyone on campus is unsure of who plays on the baseball team, just go outside into the frozen tundra and look for guys with awkward farmers tans. As far as the games went, the Big East/Big Ten challenge confirmed the competiveness between the two conferences. Despite the fact that we escaped with a 2-1 record, compiling wins over Illinois (10-6) and Iowa (3-2 in 12 innings), while losing on Sunday to Purdue (5-3), each game could have gone either way. It was arguably the best opening weekend I’ve had as a PITT Panther not only because of the quality teams, but also the minimal mistakes and competitive climate every team brought to the table. Especially since our Saturday night game was at the Phillies’ spring training complex, Brighthouse Field (home of the Big East playoffs), the environment eerily felt like a playoff atmosphere.

Congratulations to senior Phil “The Bill” Konieczny for winning the “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award” for the first week. Although slightly biased, Phil wins the award for not sticking to the infield/outfield routine that he and I have had for years. Due to some sort of salty situation, Phil refused to go “down low” with his high five after our pregame infield/outfield. As a result, I was left in a crouched position while sticking my hand out, looking like I had no friends. With the award, future plans for Phil include disproving Einstein’s theory of relativity, and ending world hunger (he is a 4.0 student in computer engineering, which is nationally ranked at PITT).

With that, I have a few shout-outs:

1. Freshman Brad Johnson for the establishment of his self-created “Johnson Nation.” We are all lucky to be a part of it. There’s not much else I can really say.

2. Second shout-out goes to David Chester for not only his 3-5 performance in game one against Illinois in which the Gentle Giant grinded out a triple, but for the radio announcer’s description of him during game two against Iowa. He described David as “an eighteen year-old playing against kindergarteners.” The announcer also thought that it looked like Chester was swinging a toothpick, which came under controversy after sports science revealed that a toothpick would be illegal to use in games since they have more “pop” than the new metal bats.

3. Third shout-out goes to redshirt sophomore closer and road roommate Ray Black. He ended up getting the win in game two, but no one really cares about that. Sure, he was sporting a 96 MPH fastball that night, fearlessly firing the ball past every batter he faced. However, he horrified the defense when he stepped into the on deck circle to hit. He didn’t even need to swing. Luckily, for the sake of our team dignity and his own personal safety, Coach Jordano made the correct call and pinch hit for him.

4. Lastly, a shout-out and thanks to the worker at the first game who used a hammer and WD-40 to remove a bat weight that was stuck on my bat. I’m not really sure how I would have hit with the weight still on it. Product promotion isn’t really my thing, but boy does WD-40 work wonders.

Winning Weekend, Conference Beginning

We registered another successful weekend by beating Patten 10-8 on Saturday. We were scheduled for a doubleheader, but we tried to wait out the rain unsuccessfully for the second game on Saturday.

In the game we did get in, a total team effort led to another comeback victory. Paul Brock started on the mound and pitched 3 2/3 innings. He was relieved with great work by Mike Wilson, David Holland (getting his first win of the season, and Scott Tully. Jake Paolinetti pitched a scoreless ninth inning to register his first collegiate Save.

On offense, we broke out for 13 hits. Jared DeCastro led the way with a 3 hit morning, and the bottom of the order combo of Tommy George, Tyler Soto, and Tyler Young combined for 7 RBI’s.

We open up conference play this week at home against National Runner-up UC San Diego. The Tritons are currently ranked #2 in the nation and sport a 10-2 record. Our boys are ready for the challenge that this weekend and the CCAA schedule represents. Game time Friday is 2:00pm and we look forward to seeing all of our Otter Faithful out there all weekend to support the boys. Go Otters!!

It’s Almost Here

I am writing this blog from the seat of a 747 bound for Burbank. We are stuffed to the gills in this Boeing (shameless Seattle-area company plug) airliner. It seems everyone on board, including Coach Marbut and his Washington State Cougars, is headed south from Seattle seeking sunshine. Turns out though, in a cruel ironic twist, that the weather we seek down in Northridge, CA will not be waiting for us. Severe rain storms predicted for Fri and Sat in the LA area means gods-knows-what our schedule will look like this weekend. We are all anxious to play someone wearing a different uniform, but it appears there may be some serious standing around in our immediate future. It begs the question once again in my mind, why we don’t at least consider (the NCAA that is) pushing the entire college baseball season back a bit. I know we’re all anxious to start playing once the New Year rolls around, and summer baseball is big business, but couldn’t we construct our schedules in a fashion that would allow everyone to play more of their season in fair weather? Especially with the impending reformatting of the postseason and CWS, isn’t now the time to examine a re-calendared (not a real word is it?) college baseball season? If we truly want to spread the excitement of our sport to the masses, why not put our fans in a more comfortable situation weather-wise. Southern schools can attest to the fervor with which their fan bases rally around heading to the ballpark on a bright warm day. Let’s give our northern brethren a chance to create similar ballpark experience for those fans. Southern schools weather only gets better so where’s the downside?

Perhaps I am missing something with my Pacific Northwest goggles on, but I really think a little creative thinking could lead to massive gains in popularity and exposure. Perhaps the devoted followers of CBL can offer their thoughts?

As we plow through the clouds here at 33,000 feet, my mind races through all the tings we are trying to get done with our fledgling program, but as I look around the plane at our young men, I am quickly brought back to the immediacy of our mission – take down the Matadors! The scouting has been done, the rotation has been set, game plan finalized; now we go out and compete. It’s the players’ time now. All their hard work through the summer, fall, and winter crystallizes tomorrow. It’s go time! We are in launch sequence at full thrusters (boy, wouldn’t this NASA metaphor work better if we were headed to Houston?).

The captain has just told me we are beginning our descent and that my electronic devices need to be shut off now – lord knows what might happen if I don’t obey so I will be a good boy and do as I’m told. You can stop reading now. Seriously. Stop reading. Good night.

Bingham Honored

Paul Bingham (2006-2010) is included in IUP’s new $58 million dollar Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex with a “bigger than life” size photo on the Wall of Fame.  Bingham was a 2010 All-American and 20th round draft by the San Diego Padres.

Our first games are February 26 and 27 in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, vs. Chowan University.   Currently in the PSAC, teams who have played and their won-loss record:  East Stroudsburg 3-0, Cal 2-1, Mercyhurst 2-1, Kutztown 1-2, and Shippensburg 0-6.

“WINwithCLASS”

Jeff Ditch
IUP Baseball
www.winwithclass.com

Back better than ever

Hello everyone and welcome back to another year of PITT baseball. For you first timers out there, my name is John Schultz and I am a senior outfielder on the team. This is my second year doing a blog for all of you to follow, and I’d like to thank College Baseball Lineup for inviting me back. Especially with the great anticipation and expectations our program has for this year not only with the highest preseason ranking in school history, but also the inaugural season in the Petersen Sports Complex, this is a great opportunity to highlight all the positive things going on for PITT athletics.

With that said, I’d like to do a quick recap of last year. The Panthers finished the 2010 campaign with an overall record of 38-18 while finishing 3rd in the Big East regular season. This was highlighted by an offense with a combined average of .363 (second in the country), numerous team and individual school records shattered, and the only team in the country boasting two 10-win pitchers before postseason play in Corey Baker and Matt Iannazzo. A few tough losses and a 1-2 showing in the Big East tournament left us watching the field of 64 for NCAA Regionals from our television sets back home. However, we tried hard, are still dear friends, and finished the year as one of the winningest teams in PITT baseball history.

This year, we return a senior-laden staff (despite losing Big East POY Joe Leonard). Combining that with a talented freshman class, there is a lot of excitement going on in the locker room. Although the season officially starts Friday with the Big East/Big Ten challenge in Clearwater, Fla., we have a lot to look forward to this week with moving into the new sports complex and locker rooms. There will also be new equipment issued before we travel, which is always viewed as a 2nd Christmas and official holiday among the players.

With the awesome upgrades throughout PITT athletics, I figured I’d make a few upgrades to my blog as well. Along with a shout-outs section this year, I will also include player interviews and the newest feature of PITT baseball, the addition of the “Schultz Memorial Salt Truck of the Week Award.” This highly prestigious award goes to the player on the team with the best outburst, meanest comment, or humdrum attitude throughout the course of each week. Look for each of these segments starting next week.

Until then, stay classy and I hope you spent time with that special someone on Valentine’s Day.

Working Our Way Up The Rankings!

Greetings Baseball Fans!   A very good week is upon us in beautiful Pensacola, FL!!!  For the first time since the beginning of January, we can walk onto the baseball field without 3 layers on!  We’ve had weather in the high 60′s and I’m sure all of my followers from the North are cursing me because they’re still shoveling snow out of their driveways.  Your time will come… and if it doesn’t… move to Florida!  Here’s just a little taste of how I spent my off day on Monday.

Off day with Dustin Brenton, Justin Bennett, and Ryan Day (not pictured)

Jr. Ben Hawkins

Last week we started with a midweek game vs. NAIA opponent Spring Hill, from AL.  We took it to them pretty good, and Freshmen Kevin Peters picked up his second victory of the year, and has yet to give up a run.  Pretty impressive in my opinion!  After we beat Spring Hill we turned our focus onto a good Flagler College team.  We knew that Flager was going to be the best competition that we had faced yet, and it was true.  They took it to us in the first game handing us our first loss 7-2.  We bounced back and won the next 2 games, 15-1 and 8-1.  Ben Hawkins pitched awesome, going 6 innings without giving up an earned run.  On Sunday,  TINO MARTINEZ AWARD candidate Jason Postill got his 2nd victory of the year throwing 6 shutout innings.  He’s yet to give up a run this year in 13 innings.  Definitely at the top of my watch list for the Tino Award!

Offensively, we have continued to kill the ball!  Greg Pron has continued to see beach balls at the plate, hitting .519 with 7 doubles, and 11 RBIs.  Brandon Brewer has been seeing the ball great also, batting .455 with 5 doubles from the 9 hole.  Eric Kroll had a good weekend going 3-5, and had some good team at-bats with a SAC bunt and SAC fly. And highlighting the weekend was Brad Hammac, who has yet to hit a single, but is batting .417 with 3 doubles, a triple, and a home run.  Overall, the week proved to be enough to vault us up the college rankings.  We moved up to 13th in the College Baseball Lineup rankings, and 11th in the College Baseball Newspaper.  Our guys have really soaked this in because it’s the highest ranking UWF has received since 1998!  The next 8 games are really going to show us if we are a very competitive team, we face 3 ranked teams, Delta State this weekend, Florida Southern the next, and North Georgia in a midweek series.  This is the part of the season where we really need to take care of business and distinguish ourselves as the team to beat in the region!  Our goal from the start has been to host a regional, and if we win these next 3 series, it will put us in the drivers seat!

Sr. Brandon "Prime Time" Brewer

This year we’ve added inning stretches during the game!  We copied this from Vanderbilt’s baseball team.  I saw it on youtube last year, but this year I finally convinced the guys to take part in it.  Every even inning the reserves run out to the outfield, start with a clap, and start our active stretching.  Our fans have really taken it in, and seem to enjoy watching us go out to stretch.  The other team probably thinks we look stupid, but it keeps the team involved, and its fun. HERE IS THE VIDEO OF OUR 5th INNING YOGA STRETCH!!  CLICK THE LINK AND ENJOY!! UWF BASEBALL YOGA ROUTINE

Riding the pine can be very hard for some people, and I think adding the stretching this year has the guys looking forward to the even innings to move around.  We’ve also done things a little different this year with our pregame pump up.  Before every game we all get into a big circle in the outfield and much left to right chanting, and Ben Hawkins gets in the middle and goes nuts with his dance moves, then the team comes together in the middle and we get a break.  Last but not least, we’ve started doing the “Love is Gone” fist pump during the 5th inning.  Basically, we’re trying to keep the guys in the dugout ready to go if their names get called.

Not a lot to update on pitching for myself, I haven’t gotten to throw live to hitters in 3 weeks, but will get to throw an inning today.  I’ll try to get some live footage of me throwing in the game, and I’m EXTREMELY excited to get out on the mound and fill up the zone and get some outs!  I’ve changed a lot since the last time I threw to hitters, so I’m anxious to see how it works out in game situation.

RS Jr. Brad Hammac

I want to give a shout out to Kim Hastings for all of the great pictures you’ve emailed me this season!  Also want to give a shout out to one of my best friends,  Michael Johnson from Samford University, they start their season on the 18th against Western Illinois.  Also, thanks to Carol Vargas-Villa for the wonderful footage of our Yoga Stretching!  If any other parents have footage of our stretching, pump up, or “Love is Gone” feel free to email me the file so I can  add it to the blog!

As always, email me your questions at Philipebertuwf@yahoo.com

And you can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/phillybert36

Thanks,

Philip Ebert #36

2 Weeks Down

I first want to apologize for not updating the blog early. To call our schedule hectic would be an understatement. I plan to get back to regular updates on everything involving Otter Baseball.

The first two weeks of competition have been interesting. We are continually learning about our team and how we react in different situations. With all the new additions to the roster, we will constantly be evaluating and assessing our roster and how to put the players in positions to be successful. We still aren’t close to full strength yet, as we continue to work on eligibility for a few key members.

What we have done very well is play the game the right way and a high level of intensity. Our players’ passion for the game has been evident in every single contest we have competed in. They are proving to be a tough and disciplined group, and the go into every game and situation with the proper mindset.

As a coaching staff we are very confident in our group of young men. They meet the challenge everyday in practice and they are continuing to learn how to compete in different situations during games. They have displayed a high level of intensity in every inning of every game thus far, so they are showing what it takes to be a member of MB Baseball.

We only have two games this week, as we take on upstart Patten in a doubleheader on Saturday, with a 10:00am start time. We hope to see all of Otter Nation out there to support our boys. This is an important short series, as it is the last tuneup before conference play starts next week.

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