Eastern Michigan baseball round-up: 8 games in 10 days

The Eastern Michigan University baseball team finished off its wild eight-games-in-ten-day stretch with a loss to Western Michigan University (18-24).

The Eagles (17-28, 4-16 Mid-American Conference) started off with a tough weekend against Ohio University (9-33, 5-15 MAC) – losing two straight before picking up a win in the last game of the series.

The series started on Friday with a 10-8 loss for Eastern in which EMU rallied back in the ninth inning - scoring four runs before finally falling.

The coming from behind theme was nothing new as Eagles coach Jay Alexander admits.

“Number one it’s the focus. Number two it’s being able to do the little things well enough,” Alexander said. “And we haven’t been able to do that most of the season.”

Sterling Sharp (1-4) made his fifth start of the year and pitched 6 1/3 innings - allowing nine hits and five runs, while striking out three batters. The Eagles were only down 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth, but relief pitcher Devon Bronson had a rough inning, allowing five runs on two hits and a couple of wild pitches.

The second game went smoother for EMU. The Eagles lead after the top of the fourth, but eventually losing in ten innings 7-6.

Paul Schaak started for the Eagles in the game; pitching five full innings, while giving up six runs on nine hits with one strikeout. Tyler Russell (0-2) finished the game and only allowed one run albeit the game-winning one. Russell also struck out four batters. Ott and Longo led Eastern’s hitting attack again in the game. They each went 2-for-4 with Ott also getting two RBIs. Dae Bowden also played well with two hits and a run.

The final game of the series was played on Sunday with EMU getting their first win of the series 10-5.

John Rubino picked up a career-high five hits on six at bats. also scored two runs and picked up an RBI. Ott also had a good game with three hits, three runs and a RBI. Michael Mioduszweski had two hits, two runs and a RBI.

Jake Andrews (3-4) started for EMU and had a decent game. Andrews allowed eight hits and five runs, but struck out two batters in five innings work. Charlie Land pitched the last two innings of the game and struck out three and allowed three hits.

In their 11-7 victory over Madonna University (26-23, 13-14 Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference), EMU scored 11 unanswered runs spanning the third through the seventh innings after falling behind 7-0 early. Alexander said that his team did a better job focusing after their slow start.

“It’s hard to give up seven runs right away,” Alexander said. “What we did was just focus more.”

The first inning was difficult for the Eagles with starter Kristian Calibuso walking three batters and allowing four runs. Zane Birchler took over for Calibuso after the first. He allowed three more runs in the top of the second to stretch the Madonna lead to 7-0. Layne Gusler and Sam Delaplane (1-1) pitched the next four innings for the Eagles, shutting down the Crusaders.

The game was called off due to rain after the seventh inning.

Everyone in EMU’s batting rotation aside from Ott picked up at least one hit. Each of the last three batters in the order – Ty Gilmore, Marquise Gill and Dae Bowden – picked up two hits. Bowden has been filling in for Austin Wilson who has a stress fracture in the heel of his foot and was held out for the last couple of games.

The team played its last home game before going out on the road for a four game trip against Bowling Green University (20-20), losing in the tenth inning 11-8.

Eastern squandered away many chances in the game, giving up four unearned runs and committing five errors in the game.

Starting pitcher Michael Marsinek allowed four runs on three hits and walking three batters in just more than two innings work.

Charlie Land had a good game in relief, allowing two runs and two hits, but striking out three batters in three innings. Gusler (1-1) ended up getting the loss. He gave up all three runs in the tenth inning, walking two batters and giving up a hit.

Rubino and Ott went 2-for-5 and 2-for-4 respectively with two runs apiece. Longo, Mioduszweski and Adam Dennison each picked up two RBIs as well.

EMU had a day off on Thursday and then started its three-game series against Western at Homer Stryker Field on Friday, losing the first game 5-1.

EMU struggled with hitting in the game, picking up only six hits in the game against Western starter Steve Laudicina (5-4), who hurled a complete game.

Ott was held hitless as was Longo and the returning Wilson who went 0-for-3 in the game.

Despite his struggles hitting, Alexander is happy to have Wilson back for defensive purposes.

“He gets to a lot more balls [than Bowden],” Alexander said. Sharp (1-5) also pitched the entire game for EMU giving up nine hits and striking out one batter. The offense got going in the second game of the series with EMU coming out on top 6-3.

Longo (2-3) and Rubino (3-4) both had much better games; each getting two runs and an RBI for Longo. Wilson improved in the second game, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Schaak (1-2) got the start and pitched seven innings only allowing four hits and two runs. Schaak also struck out three batters.

Eastern’s hitting faltered again on Sunday in the final game of the Western Michigan series. The Eagles only had three hits total in the game and only scored one run to Western’s six.

Jake Andrews (3-5) started for EMU and pitched two innings in which he gave up five hits, four runs, and walked one batter. Tyler Russell came in for relief and finished the last six innings only allowing three hits and two runs, while striking out two.

Marquise Gill led the hitting attack. He went 1-for-2 with Eastern’s only run. Ott and Rubino also went 1-for-4 each to give EMU its’ two other hits.

The Eagles head out to East Lansing for a showdown with Michigan State University on Wednesday May 7 at 3 p.m. That will conclude EMU’s road trip and they will come home for another three game series against Central Michigan University May 9-11.

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