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Archive for April, 2011

Handling our Business on the Road

The LIU Blackbirds continued their strong play on the road this season in the Northeast Conference. Last weekend we came out of Smithfield, RI with a series victory against a tough Bryant University team. So far this season the Blackbirds are 8-3 in three NEC road series this year, which shows our teams ability to focus and concentrate on the road. 

Game 1 featured another strong performance from Sophomore RHP Chris Franzese. Chris tossed 8 innings allowing 1 ER. Evan Zerff continued being a rock out of the LIU bullpen, securing his 11th Save after pitching the 9th inning.  Junior C Tyler Jones was 3-4 with 2 RBI’s while Junior SS Drew Walsh added 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Blackbirds.

Game 2 was a bit of a different story. With Justin Topa cruising into the 5th inning with a 2-1 LIU lead, the Blackbirds had some untimely miscues in a 9 run 5th inning while committing 4 errors. we went on to lose game 2 10-5.

Game 3 we did what we have done all year, turned the page on a loss and came back strong to pick up a 4-0 victory. Sophomore LHP Matt McCormick who has been automatic in NEC play this year (5-0 1.89 ERA) came through with a complete game shutout. McCormick needed just 82 pitches to silence the Bulldogs and give us a much needed lift and series win (game 4 rained out Saturday).

With the series win the Blackbirds improved to 14-5 in NEC play with 3 weeks left to play. We currently sit in second place percentage points behind Monmouth University. This weekend the Blackbirds return to the Bird Cage to face mount St. Mary’s in a four game NEC series.

The guys are having a great time and doing a wonderful job of playing one game at a time, pitch by pitch, out by out, inning by inning.  Continuing to see this team make gradual strides as the season progresses is great. While the team remains confident in their ability to play with anyone, they have kept a calmness about themselves.  They have been dilligent day in day out with the way they prepare in practice and before games. We have a slogan on our weight lifting shirts, it says “I will beat you, because I will outwork you.”  It has somewhat taken on a life of it’s own with this team and we couldn’t be any prouder of our guys. The chemistry within our team is seamless. There are a lot of talented teams out there (and we are one of them) but chemistry is something that coaches have no control over. You go out, you recruit the players that you feel are a good fit for your program and you hope that they “get it” collectively. So far so good for the Blackbirds but we have a long way to go with our season and remind our guys every day that we haven’t accomplished anything yet.

“Don’t allow complacency to settle in, it ruins greatness.”

Game time!

John became Pitt’s all-time scoring leader last weekend in a win over Georgetown. 

Hello Everyone,

It’s been almost a month since my last posting, and for that I apologize. As many student-athletes will tell you, it’s extremely difficult to keep up with the “student” aspect of college while in season. Since baseball spends more time on buses and hotels than any other collegiate team due to our extensive schedule, sometimes I need a sabbatical to play catch up with classes. However, the good news is that final examinations are next week, and after that I am a free man. Being a senior, I just endured my final class as an undergrad this morning at 8 a.m. Overall, I’m pretty pumped about that.

Since it’s been a while and past game details are difficult to remember, I’m going to save everyone the frustration of misinformation by just posting past game scores prior to now.

at         Connecticut                 L 7-0              

at         Connecticut                 L 9-2  

at         Connecticut                 W 4-0 

            Ohio                            L 9-4  

            Notre Dame                W 6-5

            Notre Dame                W 3-2

            Notre Dame                L 8-6

at         Cleveland St.              W 13-5

at         Kent State                   L 9-5

            Villanova                     W 15-6

            Villanova                     W 9-5

            Villanova                     W 7-3

at         Penn State                   L 5-4

at         Georgetown                W 15-9

at         Georgetown                W 13-4

at         Georgetown                L 3-2

            Youngstown St.          W 7-2

So, 17 games and 10 wins later, our team currently stands at an overall record of 22-13 and 8-4 in the Big East, which is good enough for a tie for second place.

Up next for PITT is a home series against Rutgers, starting tonight at 6 p.m. This game marks the first “Pack the Petersen Sports Complex event” which includes a $250 prize for the fan with most school spirit. Since the latest season of Jersey Shore is over (no pun intended since we’re playing Rutgers), we’re anticipating a crowd of crazily clad fans to fluster our fist-pumping foes.

Using the fist-pumping personification, I’ll transition into my shout-out section: 

  1. First shout-out goes to the ridiculous hairstyles that have been popping up on our team as of late. In the locker room yesterday I think I counted 3 faux-hawks, 2 mullets, and as Jersey Shore would call it, “a great big blowout.” Which leads me to my next point: I would like to make sure PITT security realizes that although New Jersey native Alex Caravella looks like he’s not from PITT due to his horrendous hairstyle, he actually is on our team. It might be difficult to differentiate, but please let him in our locker room. He’s not trying to sabotage us.
  2. A special shout-out and thank you goes to everyone who contributed to the First Pitch Event against Villanova, christening the opening of our new ballpark. It was awesome to see all of the supporters of PITT baseball and contributors to the new ballpark in attendance. Without their efforts, the dream of a new sports complex would have never been realized.
  3. Another thank you goes out to PITT football for sending us some of their spikes to use on the new turf field. They’re lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Although they still have not yet helped me steal more bases.
  4. Congratulations to Corey Baker for breaking PITT’s all-time career wins mark as a pitcher. You’re really good.
  5. My final shout-out and final “John C. Schultz Memorial Salt Truck Award” goes to the entire team for their actions after losing to Ohio. The reason it is the last salt truck award to be given out this year is that the trophy was tossed in the trash as a result of the less-than-ideal mood in the locker room post-game.

 I’d also like to note that another first in my blog’s history is currently occurring. As you might have noticed due to the shorter sentence structure toward the end of this posting, I just found out today’s game is being switched to a doubleheader starting at 4pm due to impending bad weather in this weekend’s forecast (weird, that never happens in Pittsburgh). Therefore, I pretty much have to leave for the field in about five minutes.

With that said, see you next time!

Sweep, Swept, Sweep, Split, SWEEP!, Start?

The title speaks for its self, it has been crazy baseball in the upper Midwest since my last blog post. I apologize for the large gap between blogs, we had a busy schedule of games and my computer got a virus. But that is all fixed and I’m back to blogging!

When I last left off we were preparing to play D3 cross-town foe Hamline University. Despite the poor weather being predicted we got the night time double header in under the lights. It was a wild couple of games. Bundled up on the bench I watched 17 innings of great college baseball.

Game one saw staff ace Ben Lemke do what he does best, a complete game three-hit performance, holding Hamline to just one unearned over the seven innings while striking out seven. We scored two runs in the first inning, and that was all Lem would need as we won 2 to 1.

Game two was another thrilling contest like we’ve had all season. Andy Fagely threw six innings in relief, striking out eight to earn a victory out of the bullpen. The game would go ten innings (it was originally scheduled for seven). Down 2 to 1 in the bottom of the tenth inning the top of our order rallied. Troy DuBay singled to left to start the inning. Kris Long sacrificed him over to put a runner in scoring position with one out. Bryan Lippincott wasted no time, driving an RBI single to left on the second pitch of his at-bat. Clean up man Jon Stockton battled deep into his at-bat before hitting a walk-off RBI double off the left field fence for a walk-off victory. For the second time this season we mobbed a teammate after completing a come-from-behind walk-off victory.

Sweep of Hamline.

The following Wednesday we hosted Minnesota State-Mankato. They have been in the College Baseball Lineup D2 Top 30 all season. It was a tough opponent to start our conference season.

The Mavericks brought there A-game throwing their top two starters and swinging hot bats. They put up 11 runs in game one, while lefty Danny Miller’s only blemish was a fourth inning homerun to Lippincott. Mankato took it to us 11 to 1.

Game two followed a similar story line. With the reigning Central Region pitcher of the year toeing the rubber Mankato had a similar dominating performance. Blake Schwartz threw six innings giving up two runs for the Mavericks. On our side senior starter Nick Anderson gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings.

With one out in the fifth inning I made my fourth appearance of the season. The first batter I faced grounded a high chopper to shortstop for an RBI groundout. With two outs and no one out I struck out the leadoff hitter to end the inning.

I went back out for the sixth inning. After getting the first hitter down 0-2, I missed a spot with a fastball and gave up a double. The next batter flied out to right, but the runner tagged from second base and advanced on the play. The third batter of the inning hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it two outs with no one on and one run scored.

The next hitter hit a ground ball to second base, but our second baseman couldn’t handle it and he reached on an error. From there the wheels fell off a little bit. The next batter doubled making it second and third with two outs. After getting the next hitter to a 2-2 count I induced another ground ball that was again mishandled allowing the two runners to score unearned. The first pitch to the next batter would be a belt high fastball tattooed over the left field fence for a two run homerun. The inning would finally come to an end when the last batter grounded out to shortstop.

Although I felt like I threw the ball well, it was still a disappointing outing and game for the Golden Bears. The final tally would be 12 to 2 in favor of Mankato.

Swept by Minnesota State Mankato.

We didn’t have much time to dwell on the blowouts as we left less than 48 hours later for a weekend conference series with Bemidji State. Having just lost two games it was important to have a big weekend in Bemidji. We drove up Friday night to prepare for the Saturday and Sunday double headers.

We came out swinging in game one, determined to get the bats going. Eight of our hitters had multiple hits in the game including a 4 for 5 performance from Lippincott. Lippincott would hit his second homerun of the year, senior Sam Fagely also went deep as part of the 23 hits collected by our lineup. Lemke cruised on the mound to a second straight complete game victory as we took game one 17 to 7.

Game two was a different story. The game went back and forth through ten innings as we again needed extra frames to beat an opponent. Tied 3 to 3 in the top of the tenth the Concordia bats came back alive scoring four runs. BSU battled back to make it interesting scoring two runs in the bottom of the tenth before senior reliever Nick Anderson struck out the last two batters to end the game with a 7 to 5 victory.

The next morning we woke up to pouring rain. The games were cancelled and we made the drive back to the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, I was the probable starting pitcher for one of the games on Sunday, making that my second rained out start of the season.

Sweep of Bemidji State.

Having the day off on Sunday set up our pitching for a key mid-week double header with the Peacocks of Upper Iowa. That allowed us to have normal weekend starters Adam Kramer and Andy Fagely throw the twinbill.

The freshman Kramer gave us a solid outing in the first game throwing four innings. Super reliever Nick Anderson would throw the final four innings out of the pen giving up no runs while punching out two. In typical 2011 CU fashion we went to extra innings. In the extra frame we pushed across three runs to take and 8 to 5 lead. In the bottom of the inning Nick Anderson shut the door securing his second straight relief victory.

Upper Iowa got some hot pitching in game two, and we could not seem to get the bats going. Matt Treybig stifled our offense allowing just two runs on five hits in seven impressive innings.

Down 7 to 2 in the sixth inning I made my fifth appearance of the season. After punching out the first hitter, I got a 6-3 groundout to make it two outs with no one on. The next hitter singled to left field. A HBP and a walk loaded the bases before a three pitch strikeout finished off the scoreless frame.

Our bats couldn’t heat up in the top of the seventh and Upper Iowa took game two.

After the game I was able to spend a few minutes talking to Peacocks assistant coach Timm Pint. Coach Pint was the interim head coach at the University of North Dakota for a season, and was the man that offered me my scholarship there. He gave me the chance to play division one baseball and it was nice to spend a minute catching up with him.

Split with Upper Iowa.

We headed north to the Twin Cities for a couple days off. We would host the University of Mary (N.D.) for a weekend conference series on Sunday and Monday, the games were pushed back a day to accommodate for bad weather in the area.

We put together an impressive weekend of baseball. All four of our starting pitchers would win their start and Nick Anderson would pick up three consecutive saves to start the weekend. Our bats were alive all weekend as we scored 32 runs over the two days. The weekend was capped with Andy Fagely’s complete game 110 pitch performance to complete the sweep. Lippincott hit his fifth homerun of the season in the series finale as well.

It is extremely tough to complete a four game sweep no matter who the opponent is, and Mary had some impressive pitching performances.

SWEEP of Mary.

That brings us to now. We are riding high having gone 9-3 since returning to Minnesota. We have one of the toughest weeks possible coming up. Tomorrow we head to Winona State for a mid-week double header. Friday and Saturday we play our weekend series at home against Wayne State. We have Sunday and Monday off to celebrate Easter with our families before playing a conference mid-week double header in South Dakota against Augustana College on Tuesday.

I am scheduled to start game one of tomorrow’s double header, my first start since my freshman year of college, and my first start in a Golden Bear uniform. I am very excited and very ready.

In preparation for this start I spent some time on the phone with some friends from home, and they would appreciate a shout out on the blog: Alex Cusick, Spencer Jackson, Vince Rouse, and Case Donovan.

Shout-outs:

As for baseball shout outs, a very deserved shout out goes to high school teammate Ty Blach. Ty, a sophomore lefty at Creighton University threw the first ever pitch at the brand new TD Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha, Neb. In front of 22, 197 fans Ty got the Nebraska hitter to pop out to right field. Congrats to Ty for becoming the answer to a trivia question.

 First Pitch at TD Ameritrade

Week 3 On TOP!

Mr. NO-NO!!!

Greetings baseball fans!!

A very good 2 weeks for the University of West Florida!  There are a number of things to cover including, Jr. Ben Hawkins’ NO HITTER, the continued dominance of our pitching staff and hitters, and Tino Watch List updates on our 5 candidates.  SO LETS JUMP RIGHT INTO IT!

Lets start with a history lesson…  During my time at the University of West Florida, I have been apart of 4 no-hitters!  That is pretty unbelievable considering the rarity of the achievement.  My first encounter was probably the most bizarre…  How many people can say they WON the game being no-hit??  Well in 2009, the Argos were held to ZERO hits by Columbus State, but won 1-0 behind the dominant start of Kyle Ramsey!  I remember Brandon Brewer walking, 2 pass balls, and a SAC fly.  The 2nd no-hitter was last season against the University of North Alabama.  Trey Mitchell threw a no-hitter against us at home, handing us our first conference loss of the season.  We got revenge this year when we spiked his ERA by scoring 6 runs off him!  The 3rd was UWF’s first no-hitter.  Kevin Johnson, who is currently pitching in the Angels Organization threw a no-hitter against Alabama Huntsville.  It was at home in front of all of his family and friends, and was an amazing experience to be apart of.

This leads me to the 4th no-no that I was able to witness.  Last week, Jr. Ben Hawkins was dialed in against conference rival West Alabama.  It was obvious early that Hawkins had his best stuff!  He was mowing people down left and right!  As most no-hitters are defined by some spectacular defensive plays, this was no different.  Sr. Brandon Brewer got his defensive work in on this day, making some incredible web gem plays.  It is certain that the no-hitter would not have happened if it wasn’t for the plays made by Brewer.  Another play that sticks out in my head was a diving play from first basemen Korey Domenick “Daddy”.  With one out left in the game, I saw RS freshmen Corey Angelo filming from his iphone, and after that last out was recorded we exploded out of the dugout and engulfed Hawkins as we celebrated his amazing accomplishment.  Angleo was able to the record the entire celebration from the middle of the swarm!    Here is the video that I uploaded to Youtube.  (BEN HAWKINS NO HITTER!!!! )  Good Work Angel0!!!  aka Sick Boy!

We would eventually go on to sweep West Alabama, and Hawkins would receive numerous awards for his performance.  He was awarded the GSC Pitcher of the Week, Louisville Slugger National Pitcher of the Week, NCBWA National Player of the Week, and we can’t forget Argonaut of the Week!

The new week approached and we set our focus to the University of Mobile for a midweek game.  They are an NAIA affiliated school with some incredible athletes.  They always have some big time hitters, and this squad wasn’t any different.  Fr. Kevin Peters started the game, and ran into a little trouble after a few innings.  He was relieved by Zach Jadofsky, who would eventually pick up the victory.  Super Senior Dustin Brenton came in and threw 2 scoreless innings, and Sr. Zach North finished up the game for a 17-6 victory.  Greg Pron was the offensive stud of this game raking up 6 rbi, but Taye Larry hit a bomb, Brewer had 3 hits, and Josh Huggins at 4.  A great all around victory for the Argos.

Brewer is batting over .400

The week quickly shifted to our upcoming opponent, the University of Alabama Huntsville.  They are a conference rival, who is trying to fight their way to stay in the conference tournament, so they had a lot riding on this series.  In the midst of all this, we had to remember that regardless of our #1 ranking, and 21 game win streak, we still had not clinched the East Division, so these games were as important as any other we had played this year.

Mr. Tino himself, Jason Postill came out in game 1 and threw a masterpiece.  The senior went 8 innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 10.  We won the game 8-0, and Postill improved to 10-o with a 1.75 ERA.  The 10 wins is good enough for 2nd in the country.  In game 2, Ben Hawkins took the mound and didn’t have his best stuff.  I feel like it is tough to understand the success of our pitching staff, because with this bad start it almost seemed like we were lost…  Pron would hit a huge 3 run bomb to put us ahead 4-3 in the 5th, but uncharacteristically we gave up the lead and eventually lost the game.  It ended our record 22 game win streak (which isn’t as the long the 24-0 streak of the 06′ Gulf Coast High School Sharks, my HS team).  This is just my opinion, but I think it was beneficial for us to lose a game like that at this time of the year.  It has allowed us to take a minute and remember what it feels like to lose!  I speak for everyone on our team, IT SUCKS!  We went right back to work the next day with our Sunday catalyst Danny Vargas!  During the trip, Danny had asked to borrow my pitching book, “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” and he said it really helped him when he got into a few jams during his outing.  The important thing I take from the book is the throw “good low strikes”, stay positive on the mound, and be accountable for what YOU can do… The pitcher has no control over what will happen after the balls leaves his hand.  Danny pitched great, gave up 2 runs, and Sr. Shane Waller came in to finish the game.  Waller finished it in style, retiring the 8 batters he saw, and the final 7… yes 7… to strike outs!!  It was pretty unbelievable to see the dominance of Waller on the mound.  He was literally untouchable!

Sr. Shane Waller

As a weekend rap up, the stars of the weekend were Jason Postill who threw 8 ip, 3h, 10k’s,  Greg Pron who had one of the best weeks I’ve ever seen, (10-16, 3HR, 2 2b’s, 9 R, 14 RBI, 2bb, 4-4 sb), and Shane Waller who threw 2.1 innings with 7 consecutive strike outs!  Postill and Pron were named the Gulf South Conference Pitcher/Player of the week!  Congrats to my weird teammates!

Not a lot to update on my pitching journey…. I am continuing to work hard, and find more consistency with my pitching in the bullpen…  I will be going to San Francisco this summer to play summer ball, so I am EXTREMELY excited to get out there and get some serious innings!  I can definitely wait for that though…. I think I’ll stay on this ride a little longer, because I think we all have the feeling something special can happen!

We have a big series against Valdosta State this weekend!  It is Senior week at UWF, which means this is the last home series for our 12 seniors!  It will be an emotional day for everyone, and will be pretty weird for me especially, as 5 of the seniors (Pron, Hastings, Kroll, Brewer, Sixto) that I have been with for 4 years will be celebrating, while I still have my extra year of eligibility.

The Legend, Greg Pron

CHECK OUT ALL OF MY CRAZY AND FUNNY VIDEOS FROM THE PAST 3 WEEKS!!  Also, check out my pitching from Lambuth.. One video is of the 14 pitch battle, that almost ended in a bomb, and the 2nd is the last pitch of the game!  ENJOY!!

14 Pitch at-bat!!

GAME ENDING Strikeout

Funny Interviews!!

Week 2 on TOP!

 

R.I.P.  Doug Burke

Thanks!

Philip Ebert #36

Otters split with East Bay, move up in Playoff Race

After a sloppy and dramatic weekend, we garnered a split with Cal State East Bay. We really wanted to win the series, but we still accomplished our goal of moving up in the standings towards a playoff spot. With an overall record of 16-20 and 13-14 in CCAA play, we are just two games out of the last playoff spot with 3 weekends left to go. Luckily for us the next two weekends against San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona give us the opportunity to play opponents that are just above us in the standings.

The East Bay series started with a convincing 7-4 victory on Friday. Senior Scott Tully tossed 6 1/3 strong innings for the win and Jake Paolinetti notched his 2nd save of the season. Tyler Young, Danny Nelson, and Nolan Murray all had multiple hit games to pace the offensive attack. On Saturday morning, we opened up with an extremely tough loss 7-6. Despite good pitching and timely hitting, we surrendered 6 unearned runs and that will rarely get it done in this conference. The second game of the doubleheader was also a tough loss as Aaron Appino again threw a complete game and only gave up 1 earned run, but we were blanked in the 3-0 loss. On Sunday our boys followed the script we have been playing out all season, and responded with an emotional effort that ended up in a dramatic 9-5 win. Randall Packard hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to end the weekend with a bang.

This team’s resolve and heart continues to carry us. Every time it looks like we might be down and out and the season slipping away, the kids fight right back and find a way to keep us alive. This is the New Brand of MB Baseball. It is an exciting time to be a part of our program, and it is evident that people are starting to take notice by the immense crowds at our games and the increasing media interest.

The late signing period also opened up on April 13th. We are thrilled at the early returns as we continue to round out our first ever recruiting class. There are some very high profile players signing the dotted line with the Otters. I will update signings on this blog as they come in and are approved.

We have a short week as we leave Wednesday to travel down for a Thursday – Saturday series against Cal State San Bernardino. The Otters return home the following weekend for our last home series on Senior Day on Saturday April, 30th. Go Otters!!

Rally Totem Pole

Walkoff Celebration

It’s gotta be the ‘stache!

The Long Island University Blackbirds continued to keep pace with Monmouth University for first place in the Northeast Conference standings. LIU is now 12-4 in Northeast Conference play after 16 games and 20-13 overall on the season. On a week where the 70′s mustache made a return to the Blacbirds dugout, LIU swept a four game NEC set with Quinnipiac, in exciting fasion.

Strong pitching, clutch hitting and perfectly groomed mustache’s (pictures to follow), were all on hand during our weekend sweep of Quinnipiac.

Game 1 featured a dominating performance by Sophomoreg RHP Chris Franzese (3-0 NEC with 2.13 ERA). Chris went 8 2/3 IP allowing 7 hits, 1 ER with 0 BB and 8K’s. Evan Zerff picked up his 10th Save of the year in a 5-1 victory.

Game 2 the Blackbirds received another dominating performance by Sophomore RHP Justin Topa. Topa threw a tidy CG 7 hitter with 0 BB 0 ER and 7K’s. Topa needed just 86 pitches to shut down the Bobcats. The final score was 8-2.

Game 3 saw Sophomore LHP Matt McCormick continue his strong start to the NEC campaign (4-0 2.13 ERA in 4 NEC starts). McCormick went 6 strong, allowing 1 ER. Evan Zerff pitched the 7th inning in the 5-1 victory.

Game 4 saw a see-saw battle between the feisty Bobcats and the Blackbirds. LIU starter Brad Reimer got little support in the first inning (2 Unearned Runs) as QU jumped out to a 3-0 lead. We came right back in the bottom of the first scoring 2 runs on a 2 out hit by Julian Castro (NEC Player of the Week). The game went back and forth until we finally broke through to go ahead 8-6 on a two run double by Freshman sensation Peter Leonello. Evan Zerff entered the game in the top of the 8th and gave up an uncostumary 3 runs to QU and a 9-8 lead. Our guys came right back and scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th to go back up 10-9. Evan then did what he does best, shut down the opposition. He pitched a near flawless 9th inning to improve his record to 3-0 (10 saves).

Offensively we had a few standouts on the weekend. SS Drew Walsh, C Tyler Jones, RF Julian Castro, LF Peter Leonello and CF Sam Sciamarelli all contributed big hits on the weekend. 2B Brad Greve just continued to amaze us with his clutch play as well offensively laying down one of the best bunts I have ever seen with a 1-2 count and 2 out. It completely changed the momentum of the game and afforded Leonello an opportunity to drive in the 2 runs we needed.

Next up for us is a trip to Rhode Island to play the Bryant Bulldogs in a 4 game NEC series. With this being Easter week, we will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday as opposed to our normal Friday-Sunda Schedule. Bryant has been playing good baseball in the NEC of late and we are looking forward again to getting on the road to play a tough opponent.

Otters Thinking Playoffs

The 2011 MB Baseball team continued it’s push for the playoffs by garnering a very tough road split with the then #9 ranked Cal State Los Angeles squad (Collegiate Baseball).  The 2-2 record over the weekend brings our overall record to 14-18, and our conference mark to 11-12.  We are also 8-7 against the top 10 ranked teams in the nation at the time of the series.  Our boys understand how to step up to the challenge that every team in this conference presents.  With 4 weekends left to go, we sit just 2 games out of the playoffs.

The weekend started with a very frustrating Friday night contest that we dropped 5-1.  We made too many errors and did not give our offense or pitching a chance to win us the ballgame.  But like we always seem to do, the boys responded by winning an 11-inning affair in the first game Saturday 5-2.  Jake Paolinetti picked up his 5th win of the year and he ranks in the top 5 in the conference in wins.  The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a tough 1-0 loss.  Aaron Appino was masterful on the mound, but we could not score off CSULA’s pitcher, who is the top ranked pitcher in our conference.  Sunday’s 13-2 victory was our most complete performance of the year.  Nolan Murray busted out and got 4 hits on the day.  Paul Brock pitched 7 strong innings for the win after he had already notched a save earlier in the series.  For his efforts, Brock was named CSUMB’s Student-Athlete of the Week.

Along with it’s stellar pitcher, MB Baseball is playing some of the best defense in the nation.  We are currently ranked 1st in the nation in double plays turned per game.  Check it out here…  http://www.otterathletics.com/news/2011/4/12/BB_0412114653.aspx

We square off with Cal State East Bay this weekend for a huge series.  We want to continue to improve our position for the playoffs, and this is one of the last times we will have home games for a series.  Friday’s game is slated to start at 3:00pm at Otter Field.  Saturday’s doubleheader is at East Bay starting at 11:00am.  The series concludes Sunday again at Otter Field with an 11:00am start.

Tony Hernandez

PSAC Standings and Schedule

After week #4, the PSAC standings:

PSAC West:
Slippery Rock 8-4
Mercyhurst 7-6
IUP 6-6
Lock Haven 6-6
Cal 6-7
Gannon 7-9
Clarion 3-5

PSAC East:
Millersville 10-4
Mansfield 5-3
East Stroudsburg 6-4
Shippensburg 7-5
Kutztown 7-9
West Chester 6-10
Bloomsburg 3-9

PSAC schedule for the weekend of April 15/16:
Lock Haven vs Mercyhurst, Gannon vs Clarion, IUP vs Slippery Rock, Shippensburg vs Millersville, West Chester vs Mansfield, Bloomsburg vs East Stroudsburg.

“WINwithCLASS”

Jeff Ditch
IUP Baseball
www.winwithclass.com

Blackbirds fly high at FDU

 

The LIU Blackbirds got back on track this weekend against FDU on the road, in NEC play, winning 3 of 4 games in Teaneck, NJ.

Strong pitching, great defense and some timely hitting were the themes of the weekend for us.

Chris Franzese (8 IP 1 ER Friday), Matt McCormick (5 2/3 IP 3 ER Saturday), Justin Topa (CG 7 IP 3 ER), Evan Zerff (2 Saves) & Emerson Morillo (3 IP 0 ER 1 Hit) set the tone on the mound for the Blackbirds Friday and Saturday. Sunday starter Brad Reimer had a solid effort on Sunday but didn’t get any run support in a 4-1 loss.

SS Drew Walsh and C Tyler Jones continue to be run producing machines at the plate for us. CF Sam Sciamarelli, LF Pete Leonello, RF Albert Faz and 2B Brad Greve all contributed during the course of weekend with some big hits to start or cap off rallies.

Defensively our team played flawlessly with no errors in the four games. When you can pitch it, catch it, throw it and get some timely hits, you can be a successful ball club. We were fortunate enough this weekend to play some good fundamental baseball throughout the 4 games.

Each week, you can see this team getting better and better. The confidence grows with each win and the guys have shown they can win on the road. So far in NEC play, we are 6-2 in two Conference series away from the Bird Cage. Up next we have St Peter’s on the road on Tuesday followed by, a tough home series at the Bird Cage with Quinnipiac University.

All teams, good and bad, have character traits. This team has shown us so far this year chemistry, resiliency, leadership and the ability to prepare the right way day in/day out. To watch this group grow and learn day to day is very rewarding as a coaching staff. Coach Maines tells our team every day that the season is a “marathon, not a sprint”. He also tells them that “the game is a teacher”. So far it is teaching us (coaches) that this team has the make up to do some great things in 2011.

TOPS IN THE LAND!!!

Greetings followers!!

What a great few weeks for UWF Baseball!!  On the heels of a 17 game win streak, the UWF baseball has been named the NUMBER 1 team in the nation according to College Baseball Lineup, and College Baseball Newspaper.  This is a first for the UWF baseball program, and we are all soaking it in!  There is a BIG difference from previously in the season when we swept Florida Southern, and were voted #2.  When the polls came out we were all excited about being ranked that high, but didn’t play the same type of game that we played in order to be ranked #2.  Now that we are #1, we have the understanding of what it brings, and that rankings don’t win games!  It is great to be recognized nationally as the best team, but we still have 13 games left, including 12 games in conference.  We know that everyone that we play is going to be playing their best game to try and beat the #1 team, just how we have in the past when we’ve played a #1 team.  We have a bigger bulls eye on our back now!

Don’t get me wrong, we are ALL extremely excited about being #1, but we aren’t going to let it get to our heads.  We’re ranked #1 for a reason, and we’re not expecting to give it up any time soon!  We have a good test with conference rival West Alabama this weekend in Pensacola.  They are a good team that is fighting to get into the conference tournament, and I know they’ll be playing like they have nothing to lose.

Base Hit for Ryan Day

Since the last time I blogged we swept a series from North Alabama.  They were a good team, 2nd in the conference, and 15th nationally at the time.  We knew it was a huge series, that could ultimately decide the #1 seed in the East Division.  We took care of business, and were on our way home.  Unfortunately around the Birmingham area our bus broke down.  Some type of hose broke, and another bus was sent to pick us up.  Well…… that took about 2 hours, and we were finally back on the road.  The bus ride seemed to be going well, until we had about an hour left.  At that point, the alternator started to fail, so all the power had to be turned off to ensure the engine would stay on.  So for the last hour, at 1:00am we sat in darkness with no movies or A/C.  It was definitely a trip from you know where!!!

After a good week of practice we had Lambuth University next on the list.  We beat up on them pretty bad, but I will give them a lot of credit, they never stopped playing hard the entire weekend.  It is so easy to have the attitude of, “we don’t care anymore” and that definitely wasn’t the case.  They were down by 15 runs and still laying out for balls, and running out every ball like it was to win the game.

The weekend was full of great performances, Tino Award Watch List Players Dustin Lawley and Jason Postill both performed well.  Lawley went 5-12 with 2 HR’s, 3 doubles, and 4rbi’s.   Postill pitched well again, going 5 innings, giving up 2 runs, while striking out 5.  Ben Hawkins is on my Tino Watch List also, as he had another dominant start, going 4 innings, while striking out 9.  Hawkins has lowered his ERA to .99!  Both Postill and Hawkins are 8-0, and all the starters are really feeding off each others success.  I’d compare it to the Phillies rotation!

Jr. Justin Bennett

My roommate, Justin Bennett, also had a great weekend!  He played the second game and went 4-5 with 2 doubles.  He also went 1-2 in the 3rd game.  He’s been seeing the ball well lately, and has risen his average to .423!  Senior Zac Taylor has started to swing the bat, he went 5-6 with 10 RBI!  In game 2, he blasted his first 2 bombs of the year, including a no doubt Grand Slam, and 8 RBI!

NOW FOR THE PITCHING UPDATE!

What a thrill to get my FIRST appearance at home!  It was awesome!  It seemed like the whole stadium as behind me, either they were really excited to see me pitch, or they really wanted the game to get over with and go home!  I came in to finish out the game, and started with the clean up hitter.  After the first pitch went to the back stop I settled in and threw a lot of strikes.  The first batter was a battle, the guy fouled off 10 straight pitches, and eventually hit a double on the 13th pitch.  Obviously I wanted to get him out, but I was thrilled with throwing 10 straight strikes, and not giving in!  Things got a little interesting, but I eventually struck out 2 hitters, and gave up one run!  During the inning I threw 37 pitches, and threw 28 strikes, 75%! I think ANY pitcher would take that percentage.  Obviously no pitcher wants to throw 37 pitches in one inning, but how often do you have 13 pitch at-bats??  In my opinion it was a great improvement from my appearance at Columbus State.  I thought more about the location of each pitch, what I wanted to do with each pitch, and went right at each hitter!  One thing that I can live with is giving up runs from the team getting hits!  In the fall I wasn’t hit hard, but killed myself with walks and hit batters.  It felt great being able to compete in front of all of my friends, and the Argonaut faithful that stuck it out all day at Jim Spooner Field! 

It has been a GREAT week for UWF, and baseball in general!  FINALLY the MLB is back!  Here is my quick preview of what I think the season will be…

My WILD CARD preview for the American League:

4 playoff teams will be:

Red Sox/White Sox/Rangers/A’s

A’s make it to the World Series on the back of great young pitching (similar to the Giants of last year)

National League:

4 playoff teams will be:

Phillies/Giants/Braves/Brewers

-Phillies make it to the World Series and beat the A’s to win the World Series!

Now my REALISTIC choices:

AL:

Yankees/Red Sox/White Sox/Rangers

Red Sox/White Sox play in the ALCS with Red Sox going to the WS.

NL:

Phillies/Giants/Braves/Reds

Phillies/Giants rematch in the NLCS with Phillies winning.

And the World Series Champion of 2011 is The Boston Red Sox!  (Not my favorite team, but the pitching and offense may be too much for the Phillies rotation!

I really hope for a good season from the Chicago Cubs, for the sake of my Uncle Mike! He’s a loyal fan, and a winning season would be great, then maybe picking up Albert Pujols in the free agent market!  Shhh you didn’t hear that from me!

Also, hoping for a great season from the Reds!  My Uncle Scott, from Ohio is a scout for them and they have a great squad this year!

Coach Jeffcoat Weekly Recap

*Special Thanks to Kim Hastings for taking such great pictures of me while I was pitching!

Philip Ebert #36

GO ARGOS!

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