Golden Eagles go deep in region 18 tournament
After a being swept by the College of Southern Nevada in a disappointing final home stand, USU Eastern baseball team headed to Carson City Nevada for the region 18 tournament. The Eagles lost their opener 14-11 to the very same College of Southern Nevada team before battling back and beating Colorado Northwestern Community College 14-12 and CSN 14-12. They were finally knocked out of the double elimination competition by a 10-2 loss to the College of Southern Idaho.
In the opener, the Golden Eagles took a 5-0 lead before CSN roared back with three in the bottom of the second and four in the bottom of the third. The Eagles tied it in the top of the fourth while CSN went back up by a run in the bottom of the inning. USU Eastern went up by a run in their half and gave three right back. CSN put up another in the sixth and two more in the eight. The Eagles were only able to score a single run in the eight and the ninth to fall short of the win.
Colter Moore got the start, but Jace Harris took the loss in relief. Tyler Slesk blasted a shot over the fence in the first and Craig Brinkerhoff smashed one in the fourth. The Eagles amassed 11 runs, 14 hits and two errors.
USU Eastern then had to face off with CNCC right away. The Eagles jumped out early and then Coach Scott Madsen felt it was a good time to make sure the bench got a chance to play. Suddenly CNCC found a way to score seven in the sixth and what had been a comfortable lead was in jeopardy. But they held on to get the win.
Anthony Gustin was given the start and Tory Ullibarri got the win. Brinkerhoff put another shot over the wall. The Golden Eagles finished with 14 runs, 14 hits and four errors
After defeating CNCC, the Golden Eagles had to face CSN again after they had been beaten by Salt Lake Community College. The Golden Eagles built up a 7-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. CSN rocked the Eagles with a seven spot and took the lead. USU Eastern cut it to one in the eight, but CSN added two right back. But the Golden Eagles found their stroke and put up six runs that left the Coyotes with no answer and knocked them out of the tournament.
Brinkerhoff again homered. Nuho Kraja and Brock Carlson also sent had home runs as they finished with 14 runs, 17 hits and three errors.
On Friday the Golden Eagles met up with College of Southern Idaho. In this game they could not find a way to push the runs across. The game stayed close and it was only 4-2 in favor of CSI going into the seventh. But CSI added three each of the final frames to take the win and move on. Colter Moore took the loss as USU Eastern finished with two runs, nine hits and two errors.
Coach Madsen was pretty happy with the performance of his team at the tournament. "We played well and hit very good. We began coming together by the end of the season and finished up playing some of our best ball of the season."
USU Eastern's Craig Brinkerhoff from Kanab was been named the MVP of the Scenic West Athletic Conference. He played center field, and registered a solid .803 slugging percentage this year.