This archived article was written by: Cory McKendrick
The USU Eastern baseball team wrapped up their first three weekends of conference play against Salt Lake Community College, College of Southern Nevada and College of Southern Idaho. The Eagles played SLCC on March 3-4, CSN over spring break on March 11-12 and finished playing CSI on March 18-19.
The Eagles played 12 games, winning four and losing eight against the three teams. They beat SLCC in the third game of the series and CSN in the first game of the series. Opening against two historically good baseball programs was a great way to gauge where the Eagles were doing well, and where they needed to improve.
Against CSI, the team split the series winning two games and losing two. There have been improvements each weekend for the team as they look to keep improving from week to week in conference play.
Coach Scott Madsen said, “CSN is a great team, but we showed what we are capable of and that we can beat any team we come up against. After this series we were able to see what areas we need to improve in. We have a very big series against CSI [College of Southern Idaho] this upcoming weekend, and opening the season against CSN will help us in our preparation for them [CSI]”.
In the series against SLCC, the game scores were: 10-0 loss, 21-15 loss, 6-4 win, and 8-0 loss. The game that the Eagles won was a thrilling finish. Coming off of a huge offensive performance, scoring 15 runs in the previous game, the Eagles found themselves in a tie game of game three in the top of the sixth inning, the score 2-2.
Austin Pitcher was up to bat with two outs and the bases loaded with a two balls and one strike count. The next pitch was a fastball that Pitcher drove over the right field wall for a go-ahead grand slam home run. With the Eagles leading 6-2, starting pitcher Kaidyn Longman finished the complete game win, only allowing two more runs for a finish of six to four in favor of the Eagles.
In the series against SLCC, the Eagles were paced offensively by Pitcher who had two hits including the home run and six RBIs. Austin Geurtsen had five hits and two RBIs. Will Bierlein had four hits. Cory McKendrick had four hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Bennett Bradford had two hits, two RBIs and three-runs scored.
Game one against CSN was the Eagle’s best of the series. In the bottom half of the fifth inning, USUE was trailing three to one. CSN’s starting pitcher began the inning by giving up a single to Trevor Mlait and a walk to Pitcher. Geurtsen hit a sacrifice fly to score Mlait and Beirlein grounded out to second base. CSN then brought in a relieve pitcher to try and get them out of a tough inning.
With two outs in the inning, the Eagle’s bats went off for seven consecutive hits and scored nine more runs in the inning. In total, the fifth inning yielded 10 runs on eight hits for the Eagles. USUE never looked back after the huge fifth inning and won the contest 11-5.
The Eagles improved in the series against CSI. On day one of the series, the team continued their hot hitting scoring 16 runs on 23 hits in the first two games; losing game one 8-6 and winning game two 10-3.
In day two of series USUE came out flat, losing game number one 15-0. The Eagles bounced right back in the first two innings of game number four, scoring 11 runs in two innings giving themselves and 11-0 lead going into the third inning. The pitching staff led by Pitcher, Longman and Kirk Haney closed out the game allowing five runs, with the final score in favor of USUE as 13-5.
The Eagles were led offensively in the series by Bierlein who had five hits, Nathan Hedberg seven hits, Geurtsen six hits, Colton Hill five hits and McKendrick eight RBIs in the four-game series.
The Eagles continue conference play on March 24-25, when they take on the Western Nevada College Wildcats at home. Game one will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, with game two following immediately after. Game three will begin at noon on Friday, with game four following after. All games will be played at Colosimo-Carlson Ballpark located at 1050 North 1100 East Price, UT.