The Eastern Michigan baseball team was swept by Kent State in the final series of its season on Saturday, May 18 at Oestrike Stadium in Ypsilanti. The Eagles finished with a 6-21 record in the MAC and a 7-12 record on their home field.
“It’s really cool as a coach building that relationship with each guy,” head coach Eric Roof said. “Each guy has had a different path to get here, like Alex Wolanski has been here before I was. It’s cool to see what makes each guy tick and really see them grow and get their chance at the division one level.”
In the first game of the series, Kent State pulled off a 9-7 victory. The Eagles’ scoring got started with a Wolanski home run to left field, followed by a double by John Rensel Jr. and Zachary Owings, both of which scored a runner. The Eagles trailed 5-3 heading to the top of the fourth. A few innings later, EMU found itself down 7-3.
Taylor Hopkins would pick up two RBIs late in the game but it wasn’t enough to brick the Eagles all the way back.
The following day, Eastern Michigan got out to a 2-0 lead after three innings but gave up four consecutive runs. The last of which came from a Michael Turner sacrifice fly to score Josh Hollander. EMU scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game again after Owings singled to score Wolanski.
Kent State was able to regain the lead in the top of the ninth as Kian O’Brien hit a sacrifice to center field, allowing Cam Touchette to score. The Eagles were unable to score again and fell for the 10th game in a row. Owings finished the game with three hits and two RBIs in five-plate appearances. Hopkins had two hits and one run in the 5-4 loss.
“Zach Owings has been swinging the bat well all year,” Roof said. “There have been a lot of major league scouts out here to watch him. Where Zach goes, we go. Sometimes he’ll try to do too much because he wants to be the guy to get a big double or to drive in two or three runs, so we have to remind him that he doesn’t always have to be that guy.”
In the final game of the season, Eastern Michigan’s offense stalled as it fell 4-0. Kent State scored runs in four different innings as Turner picked up two RBIs in the victory. Mitchell Sparks got the start for EMU and allowed 12 hits in seven innings pitched. Wolanski was the only senior to reach base in their final game at Oestrike Stadium.
“Once their time is done and they’ve graduated, it doesn’t mean their relationship with us is over,” Roof said. “We want to make sure that we can always help them out and be there for them if they need it. It’s a cool journey, bringing in a kid at 17-years-old and seeing them graduate at 22 or 23.”