Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello Gents nation and welcome back to another edition of “On the Bump.” This week I will talk about our two games with Texas College, our week of practice, and our road trip to San Antonio.

When I last left off, we were on the verge of our February 7 doubleheader with Texas College. Despite an early morning rainstorm, we were able to start our first game at 2 PM. We started off a little sluggishly. I started the game and threw well. I would like to have thrown a little better, but I pitched myself out of a few situations and gave our team a chance to win the game. Nic Parrott came in after me and threw a solid four innings of relief, holding the Steers to three hits while walking none. Nic did a great job of not allowing free base runners and pounding the strike zone. Offensively, we started slow, but one single at bat changed the flow of the game. Tyler Clakley led off the 4th inning for us. Up to this point, our offense had been held in check by the Texas College pitcher. However, Clakley started off the inning with a quality at-bat. He fouled pitches off, took a few pitches for balls, and then he laced a single up the middle to start the inning off. That single at-bat sparked our offense and helped lead us to a 4-1 victory in game one. Ryan Gasporra, Kyle Morton, and Jemari James each had two hits for us. Another key play that flew under many people’s radars was the baserunning of Kennen Cobb. Kennen pinch ran for Jemari at 2nd base late in the game with two outs when we were up 3-1. The pitcher threw the pitch in the dirt, and Kennen did a great job of reading the down angle of the ball and took off for 3rd base. He stole 3rd base, and, on top of that, the catcher sailed the throw into left field, allowing Cobb to score. Kennen did a great job of creating that run for us with his aggressive and smart baserunning.

Peyton Stover started game two of the doubleheader for us. Stover pitched well in his first career start, giving us 2.1 solid innings. Our offense helped ease the nerves a little by spotting him an 8-0 lead after two innings. The “Monstars” (our batting lineup’s nickname) came through big time. Matt Creamer, Ryan Gasporra, Tyler Clakley, Kyle Morton, and Jeff Schaffert started off the game with a bang, and our offense never looked back. On the mound, Kamden Haglund, Trey Guccione, Marc Martinez, Trey Lavespere, and Ryan Stevens worked well out of the bullpen, allowing only three hits over the final 6.1 innings. They were successful as a group because they pounded the strike zone and competed. Kyle Morton led the way for us at the plate, going 4 for 5 with a double. Jeff Schaffert went 2 for 4 with four RBI, including a two-run homer. Also, Matt Creamer went 2 for 6 with a double. Another stat that went unnoticed by many was Dan Lazarou’s on base percentage on Tuesday. Dan did not record a hit, however he was hit by four pitches and received a walk. Even though it doesn’t show in his batting average, Dan did a great job of getting on base and creating scoring opportunities for our team.

We received a well-deserved day off on Wednesday. Although we didn’t have practice, I still saw a lot of our guys around the weight room, batting cages, and the field. It is really encouraging to see guys working to improve their game even though it is technically an off day. Thursday and Friday’s practices were short and sweet due to more rain in the Shreveport area. I will say that we have had more rain this January/February than we have gotten in my first two years here. However, we are getting pretty good at putting the tarp on the field.

We had a five-inning scrimmage on Saturday to prepare for Trinity University. Saturday was a windy, cold day and not exactly ideal baseball weather. I was proud of our guys for showing up to play and not letting the weather affect their abilities. We played one of our better scrimmages of the year in my opinion. Our defense was solid, our hitters worked the count, and our pitchers threw strikes. I thought it was a very productive day given the conditions we had to deal with.

Sunday was another off day for us as the coaching staff wanted us to focus on our academics because we are missing several days of school this week for our trip to San Antonio. Unfortunately, we can only take twenty-five guys to San Antonio with us. As you know, our roster has thirty-six guys. I know the coaches had a tough time narrowing down the roster, and I feel for them as well. I feel for the guys who didn’t get to travel. Those guys work hard every day in practice, and we have been through a lot of ups and downs this year as a team. However, our lineup consists of mostly upperclassmen. As a result, some freshmen do not have the opportunity to travel with us. I hope that these guys understand that this is not an insult or slap in the face. I know that if these guys keep working hard they will definitely make an impact in our program over the next few years.

We left Monday around noon for San Antonio. We started off by watching Moneyball. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I suggest you go buy or rent it right now. It is a great baseball film, and it is also up for several Academy Awards. After that we played several intense games of Mafia. I don’t really know how to explain the game in a few sentences, so I will just sum it up as being an intense game of Heads Up 7 Up and Clue combined. It was an eight-hour bus ride to San Antonio, which is by no means a short trip. However, I kind of enjoy the long rides. It gives you a chance to just chill with the team and shoot the breeze, while at the same time knowing it is a “business trip.” We arrived at Trinity University on Monday night and played some catch and ran several sprints.

On this trip I am rooming with freshman Taylor Henry and sophomore Trey Lavespere. They are quite the characters and have provided plenty of laughs so far. Our Monday night at the hotel was definitely highlighted by an hour freestyle session with “T-Biscuit” (Trey Lavespere), “Big Hen” (Taylor Henry), “C-Dirty” (myself), and “Gooch Nasty” (Trey Guccione).

Stop by next week to hear how our three-game series with Trinity went. They are a nationally ranked team, and I believe it will be a great test for our team. Until next week, Go Gents.