This archived article was written by: Cory McKendrick
Honoring the sophomores, law enforcement and a win against Salt Lake Community College climaxed the USU Eastern baseball team’s last home games of the season.
USU Eastern honored the team’s nine sophomores on April 7-8. The sophomores on the team are: Austin Geurtsen, Brandon Eyring, Cory McKendrick, Bennett Bradford, Manny Begay, Will Bierlein, Reggie Gates, Jason Maughan and Christian Bonilla. The sophomores were accompanied onto the field with parents and friends in a pregame ceremony which also included Law Enforcement Appreciation Day for USUE.
“It was a great day to honor not only our sophomores, who play a big role on this team, but to honor the men and women who fulfill the roles of protecting our community and country with Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. It was good to see so many fans out to see the game and we were pleased with how everything went, it was an excellent day,” Coach Scott Madsen said.
The sophomores shined in game one of their last home games at Colosimo-Carlson Ballpark against SLCC. It started with the Eagles striking first offensively in the bottom of the first inning. Gates reached base on a SLCC error and took second on a wild-pitch and advanced to third on a single from Bierlein. Freshman Colton Hill drove in Gates to score the game’s first run on a sacrifice ground ball to the first baseman.
After a tough first couple innings where SLCC scored four runs scattered over four innings, starting pitcher, Bradford settled in to keep the Eagles within striking distance as the score remained 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning (of a seven-inning game). Bradford threw three consecutive scoreless innings to give the Eagles a chance to comeback from the three-run deficit.
Begay led off the seventh inning with a single and was moved to second after Nathan Hedberg singled. The Eagles had the bases loaded following a McKendrick single. Freshman Zac Lundell hit a ground ball to the SLCC shortstop who misplayed the ball, allowing Begay and Hedberg to score and McKendrick to advance to third base, bringing the score to 4-3 in favor of SLCC.
Another sophomore chipped in to tie the game at four when Gates singled to bring home McKendrick and tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh. Bradford took the mound to begin extra innings in the top of the eighth inning. He held SLCC scoreless in the inning giving the Eagles the chance win the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Again another sophomore got a big inning going when Begay led off with a walk. Trevor Mlait came in to pinch run for Begay, with Hedberg up to bat. Hedberg drew a walk to bring McKendrick to the plate with zero outs and runners on first and second.
McKendrick hit a ball over the left fielder’s head to bring Mlait around to score and win the game for the Eagles on a walk-off RBI double. Bradford got the win on the mound for the Eagles throwing a complete game; eight innings pitched, striking out four SLCC hitters.
This is the second weekend in a row that the Eagles have won the game in walk-off fashion, the previous weekend against Colorado Northwestern Community College and then against SLCC. Colosimo-Carlson Ballpark treated the team well in its last home games of the season.
USUE dropped the last three games of the series against SLCC losing 10-1, 8-0 and 10-1. The Eagles traveled to Henderson, Nev., to play the No. 8-ranked College of Southern Nevada Coyotes over the weekend of April 15-16. The team lost all four games in the series against CSN by the scores of 4-0, 10-0, 4-1 and 5-3.
The Eagles travel to Twin Falls, Idaho, to play the College of Southern Idaho in the upcoming weekend of April 22-23. Follow the Eagles baseball team with live stats from CSI’s athletic webpage.