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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

April 8, 2003

Why Not a Sweep?

A lot of people look at last weekend as a lost one because we didn't sweep. Some people see the Friday night loss as the aftermath of a big extra inning win at Miami. Neither of those statements gives much credit to Belmont and the game they played that night.

We tend to look at baseball teams that are not in the Top-20, or are not big name schools, as not being capable of beating us. That could not be further from the truth. Baseball is a game unlike the other major sports. It has the potential to be controlled by one player. Whoever trots out a pitcher that has a real good night, puts their team in a great position to win. Underdog or not, pitching controls the game to such a great extent.

People need to start looking at the rest of our conference and start giving credit to coaches and players who are doing a great job and providing some real interesting competition this season. The SEC and the ACC are not the only places good baseball is played. The A-Sun has some quality teams with some real good starting pitchers. Everyone seems to have a bunch of solid position players who battle throughout each game. It sure is making for an interesting season.

That said, I am disappointed that we didn't win on Friday night, but we dug our own grave. Poor defensive play and inconsistent pitching don't help you win games. We still had chances to win it late, but a tough, momentum swinging call by an umpire, and some clutch pitching got Belmont out of some jams. Give those guys credit. They did a great job against us.

Of course, we may have lost because my son Luke and daughter Maggie threw out the first ball prior to the game. Luke threw a strike with nasty movement; environment over genetics?

Saturday started better for us as Randy Beam escaped a first inning jam with only one run and went on to throw a complete game without another Bruin crossing home plate. Our home run barrage continued as Fiorentino, Brown, and Pali provided the fireworks. Matt's Mom and Dad were in from Houston and he didn't disappoint them.

The second game saw us fall behind early. Travis just didn't seem to have it that day. He has been real consistent this season, and was probably due for a rough outing. Chris Della Rocco came on and did a good job to hold Belmont down while we came back to get the win. Rob Horst had a big two run single in the fourth, and Rusty Brown had two RBIs in the next two innings.

So we find ourselves in first place with just over half the conference schedule played. We learned last year that the race is a long one, and the finish is important. We fly to North Carolina Thursday to face Campbell; the same Campbell that swept Stetson, and beat Miami and East Carolina. It will be a tough weekend. We have some rotation decisions to make. It's nice to have some depth and be able to use a few different guys, but it does leave you open to second guessing. Of course, in this job, what doesn't? KC



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