This archived article was written by: Whitney Fieldsted
The USU Eastern baseball program may have struggled as a team in recent years, but that doesn’t mean members have not excelled individually. The rough seasons didn’t stop many of Eastern baseball athletes from furthering their baseball career after their time at Eastern was over. Six athletes that spent two years at Eastern are now playing baseball at a higher level. These athletes include Tyler Slesk; brothers, Kort and Kody Christoffersen; Tory Ulibarri; Craig Brinkerhoff and Willie Eyre.
Slesk began his collegiate baseball career at Eastern where he played infield for the Golden Eagles. After his time at Eastern was over, he went to finish his eligibility playing baseball at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah where he is now a senior on the Rebel’s roster. Not much has changed for Slesk since he moved on. He is still playing the infield and hitting .250 on the season.
Slesk wasn’t only one to finish his eligibility at Dixie. Kort and Kody Christoffersen joined him in St. George for the 2012-13 season. The Christoffersen brothers are juniors at Dixie and both contribute to the Rebel team from the mound, just like they did when they were at USU Eastern.
Kody has pitched 30.2 innings this season and has an ERA of 1.76 with a 4-0 win/loss record. Let’s say he has been doing his job fairly well for the Rebels. However, brother Kort, has not had a great season. He has pitched seven innings and his ERA is way above what anybody would want it, but everyone struggles at some point in their career.
Ulibarri was a left-handed pitcher when he was a Golden Eagle for two years and he is still a pitcher for the Utah Valley University Wolverines this season. He hasn’t pitched a lot this season, but has an ERA of 7.11. Like the Christoffersen brothers, Ulibarri has one year of eligibility after this season.
Another Eastern athlete that will be continuing his baseball career is Craig Brinkerhoff. He was a center fielder for the Golden Eagles and was a major asset to the team. During Brinkerhoff’s time at Eastern, he received many baseball honors. He was named first team all SWAC, SWAC player of the Year and, most impressive, he was named an NJCAA All-American honorable mention. All of these awards were well earned by him, leading the conference with 17 home runs and having a .411 batting average in conference play.
After playing one year at Eastern, Brinkerhoff decided to serve an LDS mission, which he will be returning from this summer. When he gets home he plans on getting back to baseball and continuing his collegiate career at UVU.
All these baseball players accomplished a lot during their baseball careers, but Willie Eyre could quite possibly be USU Eastern’s claim to fame. Eyre played baseball at Eastern in the ‘90s when it was known as College of Eastern Utah. He was a right-handed pitcher and drafted in 1999 by the Minnesota Twins to be a relief pitcher. However, he just played in the minor leagues for seven years until he finally made his major league debut on April 6, 2006. Eyre’s final game was on Sept. 28, 2011 when he was 33. In his short career of 5 years, he played for the Twins, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles and all of their farm teams.
USU Eastern has high hopes for the team this year, and hopefully many more players to report on in the future.