By Clayton Ward
Just past where the center field wall says 415 at Turkey Hughes Field there is a flagpole. This past Tuesday as Eastern’s baseball team (9-9-1, 2-1 OVC) got set to face off against the Louisville Cardinals (12-7, 2-1 Big East), that flag rippled at the mercy of the wind like the surface of a suddenly disturbed pond..The flag was not the only thing that day at the mercy of another as the Cardinals beat the Colonels 19-6.
“We are the only program at this institution that can bring in teams like this to our campus and for us to not be able to get up and find it within ourselves to play, it’s very sad,” said Eastern head coach Elvis Dominguez.
Louisville jumped to an early lead off the first pitch for a homerun by freshman Josh Richmond in the first inning. Richmond’s father, Jim Richmond, played baseball at Eastern.
But it was the second inning that left a gaping hole between the two team’s scores; a hole that would only increase in size as the game went on.
The Cardinals’ leadoff batter hit a fly ball just over sophomore first baseman Anthony Ottrando’s head and down the rightfield foul line for a double.
A sacrificial out moved the runner who doubled to third. The following batter hit a single, leaving runners on the corners for UofL. Sophomore Andrew Clark hit a triple, driving in the runners on the corners.
The second inning left a four-run spread, Eastern never came closer than that on the scoreboard.
The third through sixth innings were a mixture of Louisville slowly spreading the gap and Eastern taking one step forward, and two steps back.
In the top of the fourth inning, Colonel freshman pitcher Michael Martinez gave up a 415-foot homerun over the center field wall.
“There’s not a player in here that should think that he played with any intensity or any passion. we need to learn to live in the moment and play in the moment and stop thinking about who we play tomorrow,” said Dominguez.
Going into the seventh inning Louisville led 12-5, but the Cardinals weren’t even close to finished.
The end came seven runs in the seventh inning before Eastern squeaked out one more run ending the game.
“They’re a college world series team, a regional team,” Duminquez said. “If that’s where we want to get we have to play with the same intensity and the same passion.”
Eastern will hit the road for a three game series at Morehead State over the weekend. And return home to host Georgetown College next Wednesday.
Eastern opened OVC play with a three-game series facing Austin Peay (10-9, 1-2).
The Colonels captured the series 2-1 over the Governors. After splitting the first two games, Eastern would come away with the final win after rallying for six runs in the final three innings.
“We can’t just show up and expect to win; we can’t sneak up on people anymore,” Dominguez said.
The game started off slow with the most eventful inning of the first six being the second.
Austin Peay’s leadoff batter hit a line drive that almost knocked Eastern pitcher Chris Grider off the mound for a single in the top of the second.
The Governors next batter would follow up with a single, followed by yet another single forcing an out at second and leaving runners on the corners.
The Governors threw a little trickery at the Colonels. After a batter’s swing, Austin Peay’s runner on first attempttd to steal, and seemed to almost get in a pickle on purpose to distract Eastern’ first and second basemen.
While Eastern was distracted, Austin Peay’s runner on third scored in the confusion.
Austin Peay’s batter ended the top of the second on a fly ball to right field.
Colonel freshman Ryan Faidley led off the second hitting a grounder past second base into center field thanks to an Austin Peay error by the short stop. The Colonels drove in a run and tied the game up, 1-1.
Eastern turned it on in the sixth, scoring three runs and switching pitchers after six and one-third innings with Grider.
Grider gave up four hits, two runs and had six strikeouts.
Eastern’s pitching held Peay to only one run in the seventh and eighth innings, and they closed out in the ninth with zero giving Eastern the win after the Colonels accumulated six runs in the final three innings, winning 7-3.