True freshman Brett Cisper loves pressure. He entered game one of a double header Monday against No. 25 Kansas, in the eighth inning, behind a quality seven-inning, three-hit and one-run start by Corey Chaffins. His job was simple: don’t screw it up.
“I was a little nervous,” said Cisper, talking about his first appearance in an Eagle uniform. “Once I got out on the mound, nothing really had changed, it’s still the same game.”
As soon as Cisper threw his first strike, his nerves were replaced by adrenaline, and he took over the game. In two innings of work Cisper recorded one strike out, didn’t surrender a hit and earned the first save of his career.
“I like to be the guy with the ball at the end of the game,” Cisper said.
As a pre-med student, Cisper has plenty of pressure off the mound, too. Baseball’s road schedule means he and the Eagles are often heading for warmer climates in the first half of the season.
“So far, so good,” he said of his schoolwork. ”It hasn’t been too bad, but a couple of older guys on the team who are pre-med, they are always up until three or four in the morning studying.”
The team got back from Minnesota on a 10-hour bus ride on Tuesday morning and leaves this evening for Alabama and the Coca-Cola Classic.
“I’m just trying to squeeze in some homework here,” Cisper said of his off days.
Pressure didn’t faze Cisper at Cincinnati Moeller high school, either. Before enrolling at Eastern, Cisper led his 12th-ranked (nationally) team to a Division I state title. He went 8-1 with 56 strikeouts, in 43.2 innings pitched, as well as being named first-team-Academic All State.
When it was time for him to choose a college, Eastern Michigan just felt right.
“I had a pretty good bond with coach Jay (Alexander), liked the atmosphere here, felt like they were heading in the right direction, and that I could help the team out on day one,” Cisper said.
He makes his goals for the season simple.
“Just go out and do my job, not allowing any runs and have a good strike out to walk ratio,” Crisper said.
“Our goal this year is to make a name for Eastern Michigan Baseball. We want to win every game, not just split series,” he said, referring to the 1-1 split with Kansas. “It was cool to beat the number 25 team in the nation, but we should have beat them both games. “
Take one part being a freshman, one part keeping up with school and one part closing out baseball games. Now add pressure, and you’ve got yourself Brett Cisper.