Archive for March, 2011
After winning the first two games of the weekend against SF State, we dropped the last two to garner a split. During the weekend we surpassed last year’s conference win total and tied the overall win total, all with 30 games left to play. We are not all about wins and losses here at MB Baseball, but the totals do show how quickly this program is moving in the right direction. It is an exciting time around here at MB Baseball.
Scott Tully threw another gem on Friday to get the win, going 7 strong innings and allowing 1 earned run. Paul Brock came on and got his second save with a perfect ninth. In the 3-2 victory, Jared DeCastro went 3-4 and Tommy George was 2-3 with 2 stolen bases.
In the second game the pitching saved the day for the 2-1 victory. Aaron Appino picked up his first win of the season by tossing 6 strong innings and holding SF State down. The game ended in dramatic fashion, SF State had the bases loaded with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th. A Gator line drive to shallow right field was robbed by Tommy George making a diving catch and firing to 2nd base where the runner had not tagged… ending the game with an exciting and unconventional double play.
Jared DeCastro was the offensive star of the weekend, going 10-16.
Another tough weekend ahead in the CCAA, as we host Sonoma State for the 4-game set. We look to avenge the series sweep by the Seawolves from opening weekend. Game time is Friday at 2:00pm, Saturdays doubleheader starts at 11:00am, and Sunday’s finale begins at 11:00am. We hope to see all of Otter Nation out to support the upstart MB Baseball.
Manhattan is a place that the Blackbirds are comfortable in…..Kansas that is! We just completed a great series against Big 12 opponent Kansas State with a 6-5 win on Sunday.
After a sluggish start on Friday, we played three outstanding baseball games with the Cats. Saturday in Game 2 of the series Sophomore LHP Matt McCormick carried a no hitter into the 7th inning for the Blackbirds. The final score was a tough 3-0 loss for us but it showed our team that we could beat KSU. In game 3 Sophomore pitcher Justin Topa pitched 6 strong innings allowing 1 run and Evan Zerff came in to earn the save in a 4-2 win for the Blackbirds. Sunday in the series finale, the Blackbirds jumped out on KSU 5-0 after 4 innings and persevered through a strong comeback bid by the Cats to win 6-5. Sophomore Chris Franzese went 4 strong to start the game And the Blackbirds bullpen pieced together the next five innings withEvan Zerff getting his second save of the weekend with two scoreless innings of relief.
Offensively, Junior catcher Tyler Jones, Junior SS Drew Walsh, Freshman Peter Leonello, Freshman Matthew Molbury and Junior Derek Stupski had clutch hits in the two wins.
We will be flying out of Kansas City this morning to Orlando, FL for a week of games and practice at the Russ Matt Baseball Tournament. The guys are looking forward to continuing our strong play as we prepare for the Northeast Conference opener two weeks from now.
After going 2-4 in the Chad Gassman Classic at Young Harris GA vs YHC / Waldorf and winning 3-out-of-4 at #23 ranked Limestone College in South Carolina, IUP returns from spring break with a 7-7 overall record. Wow, Young Harris can hit !! Great facilities at both YHC and Limestone allowed us to play all of our scheduled games despite tons of rain.
Frank Sirolli .388 batting average, Robbie Zinsmeister .360, Mike Lupia .357, and Ryan Sylvia .538 lead the offense. Pitchers Greg Stewart 0.00 ERA, Ben Weimer 0.00, Stephen Cooke 3.09, Ryan Sylvia 3.12, Evan Phillips 4.82 top the staff.
Tuesday DH at Shippensburg to open our in-state schedule, follow by Lock Haven Friday / Saturday to being PSAC.
11 games are now in the book, we are 7-4, and a couple of things have revealed themselves. Our pitching staff has shown some great pitchability. They, as a group, have really stepped out and carried our club through these first 11 games. We were hopeful as a staff that they could keep us in games and allow our offense to carry us over the top, but they have exceeded our expectations, giving us one great outing after another. Senior RHP Max Whieldon has been tremendous, but unlucky as a guy could be, since we have literally scored zero runs for him in either of his starts. Junior RHP Brandon Kizer has really done a terrific job, not allowing a run in his first two starts and just 3 runs in his last start. He is now 3-0. I could go on and on, naming all our pitchers because they have really impressed so far, but I won’t bore the 3 readers I have with all of that. 2.64 ERA as a staff so far. Great job fellas!
The second thing that has given me goose bumps as a coach is our defense. .982 fielding percentage so far as a team. Our infield has been especially stellar, making some outstanding defensive plays, but also just being so efficient at turning those ever-helpful double plays. Some possibly crushing innings have been wiped clean by a well-timed 5-4-3 DP. That is one cliché that is not overused – DP’s really are a pitcher’s best friend.
As the hitting guy here at SU, I have to be honest and also let you know that we have not swung the bats particularly well yet. If I’m going to gush about our club and our good start I have to also be man enough to type that we have been a little disappointing to this point at the plate. We are averaging almost 9 strikeouts a game! We may look to make a little fundraiser out of it and try and sell all that wind energy generated by our whiffs. So while we are swinging and missing entirely too much, and our batting averages are nothing you want up on the scoreboard, we have done enough to this point to get to 7 wins, but more importantly, to give us a glimmer of hope that we are close to breaking out and getting hot with the new BBCORs. We are grinding in the cages, getting our swing mechanics down and having some much better at bats across the board. If we can bring our offensive game even near the level at which we are pitching and playing defense, then we may well continue to be a tough opponent for all those bigger schools out there. I really believe the talent we have on offense is good enough tot do that.
Lastly, with two straight series wins against Notre Dame and Portland, and also a road victory against our cross-town rival Washington in our last 7 games, we are beginning to show that SU is serious about becoming a postseason contender in the near future. Believe me, I’m not putting the cart before the horse and talking like we’re going to make the NCAA tournament this year, just merely giving notice that Seattle U is coming. Knock, knock.
After a weekend that saw two losses for the Concordia Golden Bears, including an opening day blown save for myself, we have new life this week. We put Saturday’s extra innings loss and Sunday’s blow out behind us and went to work on Monday with junior righty Chris Peterson on the hill.
Peterson gave us four strong innings before turning things over to our bullpen. In this case that was me. Making my second appearance of the season I took the mound to start the fifth inning. It took a batter to figure out the umpire’s strike zone, as I walked the first hitter throwing fastballs that I thought were waist high in the middle of the plate. Realizing the umpire would not call high pitches I started to work the knees. The next hitter ground into a 4-3 double play erasing the lead-off walk. After an inside fastball clipped the next hitter to put him on first base with two outs, the last hitter of the inning grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
It felt good to put up a shutout inning after blowing a save in my first outing. In my second inning of work I got two outs on two pitches before striking out the third hitter for my first 1-2-3 inning of the season. My third and final inning including giving up one run on three base hits, while striking out the side in the process. My day ended with three full innings of work, one run on three hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.
But in the end we could not overcome our early deficit and fell to Mansfield (Pa.) University 7-6 to push our record to 0-3.
Henley Field in Lakeland, Fla.
Today was a new day though. We came out with a better mentality than we had in each of our previous three games. We were facing Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.) University at historic Henley Field, home of Florida Southern College, and the former spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.
We got a great start from freshman Adam Kramer; making his first collegiate start on the mound he kept us in the ball game long enough for our bats to come alive against WJU’s pitching staff. Adam worked into the sixth inning allowing just one big inning when he surrendered five runs in the third inning. After reliever Ty Hall closed out the sixth inning, the Concordia bats came alive. CU hitters generated seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 7-5 lead.
Making his first collegiate start, first baseman Elliot Powell led the offense with a 2 for 4 day. Powell electrified the dugout with his drag bunt for a base hit in the second inning. Hall threw the final three and one-third innings of the game to pick up the win for Concordia. Hall would allow just one run over that time while allowing four hits and striking out three. He really stepped up for the team and delivered a clutch performance.
In the eighth inning the coaches sent me to the bullpen to get my arm loose to possibly throw the ninth inning. I was excited to get a second save opportunity and to close out the first win of the season for the team. After throwing just a few pitches in the pen, the coaches made the decision to sit me down and go with Hall for the ninth inning. This turned out to be a great decision as he kept rolling through the WJU lineup and finished the game with a big time strikeout.
For the first time this season we were on the winning side of the post game handshakes, all the guys were happy to finally get the first one out of the way. Now we just have to keep the good momentum rolling into our next game on Thursday against Charleston (W.V.) University
Tomorrow’s day off will provide some much needed rest, especially for senior Sam Fagely who has caught on four consecutive days now. We are going as a team to the Tigers-Phillies spring training game in Lakeland, Fla., after a light morning practice. It should be a fun day to kick back and relax at a professional baseball game. It will give all the guys a chance to enjoy the win from today and keep improving so we can be in top form the rest of the week and on into conference series which start March 26-27 against Southwest Minnesota State, who just happens to be staying at our resort here in Florida.
For more information on the Concordia Golden Bears including bios, schedule, and statistics go to www.cugoldenbears.com
-Go Golden Bears-
The LIU Blackbirds visited Princess Anne, MD and the UMES Hawks this past weekend and came away with a road sweep.
Friday’s game was won on the mound as Senior LHP Adam Sauter pitched 7 2/3 IP with 3 ER allowed scattering 7 hits. Sophomore LHP Matthew McCormick, needed just 8 pitches to record the final 4 outs in relief of Sauter. senior Sam Sciamarelli was 3-4 with 3 Runs Scored. Junior catcher Tyler Jones and Junior SS Drew Walsh both had 2 hits and 3 RBI. Sophomore 1B Tito Marrero had 4 RBI’s on the day as well.
Saturday we saddled up for a DH because of impending weather on Sunday and we played two great games to complete the sweep. In
Game 1 Justin Topa went 7 strong allowing 3 ER while walking none and striking out 9. Sophomore Closer Evan Zerff picked up the save for the Birds with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with 2 strikeouts. Junior Derek Stupski drove in 3 Runs with 2 hits, including a 2 Run HR in the bottom of the first inning. junior Tyler Jones contributed 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and Junior 2B Brad Greve chipped in with 2 hits.
Game 2 was a see-saw battle with the Birds scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to pull away 12-7. Evan Zerff picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. freshman OF Peter Leonello was 4-4 with 3 runs scored and a SB. Tyler Jones was 4-4 with 3 RBI’s and Sam Sciamarelli and Tito Marrero chipped in with 2 hits and 2 RBI’s each.
Great weekend for us collectively, it was good to get the first couple of wins on the road under our belt. We travel on Thursday for Manhattan, KS to play Kansas State University in a challenging 4 game series and then off to Orlando, FL for games versus Butler, Chicago State, Dartmouth and UMBC.
This year’s blog is intended to be on a more personal level, rather than my personal journalistic take on the game.
After a hot start, things took a tough turn for the Concordia Golden Bears today. Facing the 15th ranked West Chester Rams we jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. After pitchers from both schools exchanged zeros inning after inning we found ourselves in a 3-0 lead and into their bullpen.
It was exciting to get our season started, and starter Ben Lemke set the tone putting up zero after zero for us on the mound. In the end Lem through six innings allowing just one run on five hits while punching out five. It was great to get such a great performance from our number one on opening day. It will give us a lot of confidence as we go through the season that we have a chance to win every single time we send him out there.
In the seventh we brought in Nick Anderson, our senior reliever/starter. He got us out of a big jam. It was at this time that I went down to the bullpen to start stretching and getting loose for a possible relief appearance.
We took an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth. A couple of unlucky bounces and close calls later we were in an 8-8 tie. After Anderson shut the door to send the game into extra innings things got interesting.
We were double-barrel in the bullpen, a righty and me, a lefty. The coaches told us the righty, Zach Goodwin would go in the game if it was tied, and I would take the mound if we had the lead.
After a wild top of the tenth which included a hits batter and the go ahead run being balked in, we had the 9-8 lead.
I took the mound and threw my warm up pitches. I was nervous but maintained my composure. The first hitter was a right-handed hitter, a combination of fastballs and cutters got me to a 3-2 count, before punching out the hitter on a fastball. The second hitter walked. The third hitter also struck out on a 3-2 fastball. That gave us two outs with a runner on first. The next hitter hit a cutter on the outer half towards left center. My first thought was that it was an easy fly ball and that we had just capped off a wild win. But the ball continued to carry and landed just out of the reach of our left fielder for a game-tying RBI double. With two outs and a runner on second their hitter swung at a fastball at the hands. The ball dribbled just past the outstretched glove of our shortstop for a walk off single.
It was a tough way to lose. The loss on opening day stings a little, but the good thing about the spring trip is that we get to come back to the ballpark for seven more games over the next week. One of our top arms from last season Andy Fagely will start against Ashland (Oh.) University. Game time is at 4:30pm EST again tomorrow.
We will have to come out swinging and pitching again. We played the best eight and half innings of baseball the Concordia has played in a long time, we just have to finish games off when we have the chance.
-Go Golden Bears-
Snow covered dome we have been practicing in
After what seemed like the longest six weeks of practice ever, the Concordia University Golden Bears are finally ready to take the field. We battled the blistering weather throughout January, February, and in to the first couple of days of March, but finally we made it to sunny Orlando, Florida. It was a long day to get here, starting with check in at the airport at 5:45am. Our flight from MSP took off at roughly 7:50am and three hours later we touched down to 78 degrees and sunny.
We collected our bags, packed the vans, and headed to Bahama Bay Resort to get settled in. After lunch we had our first outdoor practice since the month of October. It was just a quick infield-outfield and on-field batting practice, but it was great to be outdoors under the sun. Practice today was at the Chain of Lakes baseball complex, the former spring training home of the Cleveland Indians, and before the Indians, the Boston Red Sox.
The season kicks off tomorrow against the 15th ranked West Chester (Pa.) University at 4:30pm EST. It should be a great matchup as we both have infielders on the Tino Martinez National Player of the Year watch list. Tomorrow is the season opener for both squads as we both had weather-related cancellations in our February games.
To update readers on what we have been doing in preparation for the season, we have continued to have our pitchers face our hitters in our indoor facility. Pitchers have stretched out their arms with our five main starters throwing six sets of 15 pitches (90 pitches) on multiple occasions to prepare for their starts. Relievers, including myself, have thrown varying sets of 1×15, 2×15, or 3×15 depending on the day. This has given our hitters ample opportunity to see live pitching and get their timing down.
The season will start in a hurry with eight games in eight days, including a day off on Wednesday, and a double-header against in-conference foe Minnesota Crookston on Saturday before we head back home.
Now that the season is here, I will be able to put up more frequent posts about what is going on with Golden Bear baseball. We came to Florida to win games and get ready to go back to compete for an NSIC championship.
With the first trip of the year I wanted to debut a new section to the blog, the travel reading. I enjoy reading as a way to pass the time, so each trip I will feature a new book I have read and that I would suggest.
This week’s selection is The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst. Hayhurst is a pitcher in the Blue Jays organization that has logged big league time. Hayhurst recorded his journey through the minor leagues in the book. It is one of the best baseball books I have ever read. The stories are things that all baseball players can relate too. He discusses his own personal battle with the fear of failure, and how he overcame self doubt. The book is also full of funny stories from the life and rituals of minor league baseball. I definitely suggest this book. I read this while flying to Hawaii this summer for summer league, and ended up passing it around to my team, and all of them thoroughly enjoyed it.
Shout Out of the Week:
Summer teammate Dan Simmons of UC-San Diego was named conference pitcher of the week
-Go Golden Bears-
What a weekend!!! WOW! A dominating 3 game sweep of number 2 Florida Southern! We’ve had this series circled on the calender for over a year, and everyone was chomping at the bit to get this series underway. We knew they were going to be the best team we had faced, not to mention some of the best pitchers too. We had a pretty stress free week of practice, one of the main objectives of the week was to get our relievers some innings in intersquad. Everyone has been anxious to get into the games, but with starting pitching like we’ve been getting it has been tough. Most people got to throw 2 innings during the week to work off any rust, and throw an additional bullpen. We focused on our defensive fundamentals with our 21-outs drill and even got to take PITCHER’S BATTING PRACTICE! Thanks to Danny Vargas for throwing the shutout against Delta State. All the pitchers were excited to get to hit, because most were studs in high school, or so they say….. ha ha
Korey Domenick focused on the game!
We pulled out the old Demarini Bats, brushed the dust off, and went to work! We got 1 round of 8, and if you hit a bomb, you got another round. It was a bomb show! Most guys were hitting balls out, and as an old position player, some people thought I would win the derby. Josh Huggins said if he had to bet, he’d put his money on me. When I got up, I hit a seed up the middle, next pitch hit a jam sandwich with no bread (I got jammed). After that I heard my roommate, Ryan Day, telling me to pick up my knuckles. Well, the next pitch I hit a MAMO bomb as Zach Taylor would say, and it sailed about 40 feet up the big oak tree in left field. I ended up hitting 3 bombs in 8 pitches.. not bad! It ended up that I used up all my bombs in the first round, because I only hit line drives in the 2nd round. All around baseball phenom, Jason Postill won the derby with a steady pace of one bomb a round. He edged out Shane Waller, whose swing looks like he’ll have a promising career in softball after his playing days are over.
Finally the weekend arrived, and we started our usual game day routine, but there was a different sense of focus this weekend. Everyone knew that this was a series that would help determine our placement in the region. At this point, FSC was ranked first in the region, while we sat at third. Needless to say, we want that top stop! That was our goal coming into the season, hosting the regional! After the sweep, we’ve put ourselves on the map, and we’re in the drivers seat!
Game 1 was started by Tino Award Watchlist SP Jason Postill (4-0, 0.64). The senior stepped up again, as usual, and delivered 7 1/3 innings of shut out ball. His command was a little off, with 6 walks, but his volcan evened it out with 11 k’s! Shane Waller came in to get the save, his second, and Greg Pron delivered the clutch RBI hit that he’s been doing since he’s been at UWF. Pron sits 3 RBI’s away from breaking the UWF all-time RBI’s record of 134.
Jordan Raskinski "SPRANGS THANG"
Game 2 was started by this weeks Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Week, Ben Hawkins (4-0, 1.17)! Hawk pitched a gem, going the distance, allowing no runs, no walks, and 10 k’s. Being named pitcher of the week is well deserved for Hawkins, it was a dominating performance! We won the game 4-0, with the offensive hero being Josh Huggins, who went 2-3 with 2 RBIs. We won the series on the first day, which is always what we strive to do, especially at home.
Game 3 was in the hands of Danny Vargas (3-1, 2.66). Danny had his “A” game once again, and threw 7 innings allowing 1 unearned run! The Mocs scored first in this contest, getting that unearned run in the 3rd. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, Vargas had to dig deep to limit the damage. After an attempted pick off to second base, the FSC dugout erupted with comments that the umpire wasn’t going to tolerate. He issued them a warning, and basically woke up a sleeping giant! Our dugout started going nuts, and Vargas would get out of the jam, getting a batter to ground back to him, and then struck out the next two batters! We EXPLODED out of the dugout, and from that point on, the momentum was ours. Huggins started off the inning with a hit, and Pron brought him around on an RBI triple. Kenny Stalls followed with an RBI single, and we didn’t look back.
The new rankings came out, Cblineup had us ranked 3rd, while College Baseball Newspaper has us ranked 2nd. Coach Jeffcoat continues to keep us remembering that rankings don’t win games, we still have to go out and play hard to do what we’ve been doing up to this point. We finished up our home stretch at 9-1, which was our goal at the beginning of the 10 games. We travel to CBN 11th ranked North Georgia in a midweek series, and start GSC play at conference rival Valdosta State on the road. We know the bulls-eye on our back has gotten bigger, and now teams will be looking to beat us to get themselves back on the map! We’ll be ready!
"When you got it, you got it" -Ryan Day #3
Now to the pitching update!!! I was able to throw 2 innings this past week in the intersquad. I felt so comfortable on the mound, and went right after the hitters. I got threw the first inning 3 up/3 down, throwing strikes and getting ground balls. I was efficient with my pitches, and was throwing my fastball and change up for strikes. In the second inning I was still throwing strikes, I wanted to use this inning to work on the slider, which still hasn’t been as consistent as I need it to be. I threw 2 behind the hitter, but threw a great one to another hitter. It all comes down to release point with the slider, and I’m working hard everyday to be able to get comfortable with the slider, and the last 2 days have been better.
Wish us luck as we try to extend our 8 game winning streak on the road!
As always send any questions you may have to Philipebert@yahoo.com
Or, follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/phillybert36
Here is a video of our PREGAME PUMP UP on youtube. UWF BASEBALL PREGAME PUMP UP!
*A special thanks to Kathy Hollingsworth for helping get awesome video footage of the team!!
Philip Ebert #36
Good to see all of you are still reading my blog. This week was supposed to mark the opening of the greatly anticipated Petersen Sports Complex. However, schedulers failed to realize how remarkably rainy and cold Pittsburgh is in February. Therefore, it was probably not the best idea to predict playing this weekend. Looks like my Bieber bet last blog held up. Whew. Instead of imposing upon myself what was sure to be an extremely excruciating experience, we went to watch “Hall Pass” on our open Saturday night. All I can say is that it was just delightful.
Luckily, the powerful PITT Panthers have big plans for playing over spring break. As all northern teams should do this time of year, we travel south to Wofford and North Carolina A&T before heading back to sunny Florida for a couple of contests against quality competition.
With the uneventful week that transpired, I’ve chosen to comprise a list of nicknames given to guys on the team.
- Whitey (Travis Whitmore)
- D-O Double (Kevin Dooley)
- Señor (Ron Sucre)
- Tik (Casey Roche)
- Big Bossman (Brad Johnson)
- The Bill (Phil Konieczny)
- Jersey (Alex Caravella)
- Meatball (Anthony Defabio)
- Slick Rick (Rick Devereaux)
- Jelly (Jeff Kelly)
- Bobblehead (Matt Wotherspoon)
- Wizard (Evan Oswald)
- Daniel Daniel Danielczyk (Jon Danielczyk)
- Flip (Derik Wilson)
Congratulations to student manager and director of operations Jonah Rosenthal for winning this week’s “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award.” Before Tuesday’s practice, Jonah was given his typical duty of setting up the field, including the Power Hummer which we use to simulate a pitcher during situational games. However, since we practiced outside due to the nonsensically nice weather the week before, he had to wheel it from the new practice facility to the indoor Cost Center. This is no easy feat as it’s about a three-block walk with hills hindering his effort. Needless to say, he was not happy, especially after we drove by in our cars laughing while he struggled in the snow.
Lastly, here are a few shoutouts:
- First one goes to my main man Coach Lipari for his exceptional batting practice before Sunday’s simulated games, especially since he was not slated to throw that day. Sure, any common coach would have collapsed under the pressure. However, PITT’s perfect batting practice pitcher gutted out a promising performance that had the hitters prepared to face live pitching.
- Second shoutout goes to the epic battle that ensued at Sunday’s practice between senior first baseman David Chester and freshman reliever Casey Roche. Seemingly unsatisfied from his scheduled pitching program, “The Mental Assassin” confidently called out Chester. Although he painted the corners with such style and grace comparable to the way Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, the classic confrontation came down to the fifth and final pitch of the at-bat. By the beard of Zeus, Chester crushed a ball to right-center field, throwing his bat down decisively to proclaim victory while Casey hung his head in devastating defeat.
- Last shoutout goes to freshman pitcher Luke Novosel for his tactics to terrorize PITT’s heavy hitters at the plate during Sunday’s simulated game. Hardly happy with controlling the inside half of the plate, Novosel instead pulled a page out of Napoleon’s book and pushed his invasion further inside, plunking five hitters without hesitation. The effort is believed to be a new league record that resulted in battered and bruised position players.
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