Eagles tie Spartans in four game series
|Danny Cornia takes a swing and a miss in a home game against CNCC in March. The Eagles are now four games ahead of the CNCC Spartans.|
College of Eastern Utah baseball went 2-2 last weekend against the Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartans. A 3-1 win on Friday, April 15, was followed by a 2-3 defeat later that day. Game three for the weekend ended with a 7-8 loss for the Eagles on Saturday and a game four gave the Eagles another win, 7-3.
"We're getting better and better. We've scared a few teams because we are getting better," said Scott Madsen, head coach at CEU.
Game one looked good for the Eagle in the first inning. Colston Robinson hit a single and then stole second. Mitch Ramsdell walked. CNCC pitcher Matt Stowell hit Brett Nigbur and loaded the bases. But when Danny Cornia struck out and One Taumoepeau was out on a fly to center field, the inning ended with bases loaded and no points on the board.
Both teams continued scoreless to the top of the fourth. With no one on base, Preston Hansen hit a homer for the first run of the game.
As the Spartans floundered to get a run, Adam Hutchinson hit a double for CEU in the top of the seventh. When Colton Ray grounded out to the pitcher, Hutchinson advanced to third.
After Andrew Kaiser substituted for Stowell, Tyler Jones walked. On an error by Joel Bogucki, Hutchinson ran in and Jones advanced to second. After a second error by Justin Tiemann, Jones ran home, while Robinson advanced to second and Ramsdell made it to first. After a double-play took Nigbir and Ramsdell out, the inning ended with CEU ahead 3-0.
With Jerod Etsey on first in the bottom of the seventh, Zac Dinkins walked CNCC's Josh Marner before Riley Gordon was called in to substitute. A double by Van Sickle batted in Etsey, but a strikeout followed by a double play, ended the game with a 3-1 victory for CEU.
Dinkins pitched one of his best games this season in game one, allowing one run and four hits with just one error in six innings.
Game two started out rough for the Eagles. After a single, Bogucki stole second. On an error by Nigbur, Bogucki advanced to third and ran in on a single by Brandon Harrington. On a wild pitch by Kyle Graham, Harrington advanced to second and Etsey made it to first. A sacrifice bunt by Marner, Etsey advanced to second and Harrington to third. Both runners scored with a single by Van Sickle. After Graham walked Justin Tiemann, Bryan Smith substituted for Graham. Smith allowed one run, loading the bases, but a force out on third and a throw to the catcher kept anyone from scoring. The inning ended 3-0 after a fly out to left field.
Down by three at the end of the first inning, the Eagles scored one run in the second after a double by Hansen and a triple by Hutchinson.
The Eagles scored again in the third. Jones hit a single and advanced to second on a single by Robinson. A sacrifice hit by Ramsdell sent Jones to third and Robinson to second and a grounder by Nigbur brought Jones home.
With not another point for the rest of the game, CEU lost 3-2
Game three began with two runs for CEU by Robinson and Ramsdell. In the third, the Eagles added one by Hansen.
But the Spartans responded with a five runs in the third. With Bogucki on first, Harrington walked. On a single by Etsey, Bogucki ran home from second. With another single by Marner, Harrington scored, running in from second. An error by Cornia allowed another run by Etsey, also from second, and left Marner on third and Montey Downs on second. A single by Tiemann cleared second and third, and the Eagles ended the inning down by two.
After Robinson walked in the fourth, Hansen singled. A triple by Cornia brought in both Hansen and Robinson.
CNCC took the lead after an error by Jones in the bottom of the fourth allowed a run by Stowell.
Down 5-6 at the top of the sixth, Hansen reached first on an error by Tiemann. Cornia hit a single, sending Hansen to second. On a double base hit by Nigbur, both Hansen and Cornia crossed the plate with unearned runs, taking the lead for CEU.
Levi Watts came in to pitch for Hanson Perkins at the top of the seventh. Watts was looking good starting out as Corey Hunter was called out on a grounder to second and Stowell struck out. But when Watts walked Wesley Torsell, and Torsell stole second, that began to change. Watts then walked Harrington. Unwilling to chance a run, CEU switched Watts for Gordon. But Gordon allowed a triple by Estey, bringing in both Torsell and Harrington. A ground out ended the inning with the Eagles down by one, 7-8.
A no-run top of the seventh ended the game with a victory for the Spartans.
Game four was scoreless until the third. A single by Hutchinson and a walk by Taumoepeau. On an error by CNCC's catcher, Downs, Hutchinson scored and Taumoepeau made it to third. A single by Robinson brought Taumoepeau home on an unearned run.
A pair of walks and a wild pitch by pitcher Kyle Killian gave CNCC a run by Hunter, in the bottom of the third.
After Killian hit Downs with a pitch in the bottom of the fifth, Javier Soto hit a sacrifice grounder to the pitcher, allowing Downs to advance to second. Another grounder to center field took Hunter out, but allowed Downs to advance to third. Another wild pitch allowed Downs to run home, tying the game 2-2.
In the top of the seventh, the game still tied at two, Cornia walked to first with one out in the inning. Crosby Oldham came to the plate as the designated hitter for Hansen. Oldham hit a triple, bringing Cornia home. After Nigbur got to first on balls, Brandon Bumgarner hit a single, batting in Oldham. With CNCC pitcher Matt Aragon unable to throw in the strike zone, Ray walked, loading the bases. A double by Hutchinson brought in Nigbur, Bumgarner and Ray.
CNCC pulled Aragon, sending Kaiser to the mound, who made two quick outs. CNCC scored one run in the seventh, but that was not enough to counter the five-point lead of the Eagles.
The game ended with CEU winning 7-3. The pair of wins leaves CEU with a 7-24 record in the conference. That's four games ahead of the Spartans, who sit at 3-30.
Every other team in the conference is now untouchable by either the Eagles or the Spartans. Fourth-ranked CSI has a 16-15 record. With only eight games left in the regular season, advancing to fourth is out of the question.
The Eagles are looking to stay ahead of CNCC. Just four wins behind CEU, the Spartans would need to win just half their games to tie CEU's current record. But every win for the Eagles widens that gap.
"We've beaten Dixie and Snow. CNCC has only beaten us. We have a good chance of staying ahead of them," said Madsen.
The Eagles continue their stretch of away games as they play the Salt Lake Community College Bruins this Friday and Saturday in a pair of doubleheaders.