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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

May 12, 2003

A Steamy Night in Georgia!

Actually, it was two nights and one day, but don't let anyone tell you that it is hot in Florida. At least in Boca we get that nice ocean breeze. It was stifling hot in Statesboro as FAU rolled into town and beat NY Tech twice, and Georgia Southern, once to run our record to 42-11. This was our conference bye weekend, and we had scheduled Tech to come to town. The problem was that their assistant doing the scheduling, made some mistakes and was fired. One mistake was double scheduling the same weekend. Georgia Southern offered to host both of us as a solution, so we rode the bus for nine hours and came back with three wins. I think it's good to play on the road at the end of the season. It gets you ready for tournament play.

Thursday night was close until the last inning, when Tech's defense had several lapses that opened things up for us. Chris Saxton started for us and pitched a real strong game. He has really done a great job all year. Some guys would have trouble moving from the pen into the rotation, but Chris is a good one. Rusty Brown homered, and Cox hit the ball well, as did Pali and Fiorentino. Ich has struggled a bit lately, but had a good weekend.

Friday night's starting pitcher for Georgia Southern posed a good challenge. A big righty, Dove throws around 95 mph and could be a pretty high draft pick. I was anxious and a little apprehensive about facing him. This was a game I really wanted to win. The only question people seem to have about our team is how we will hit against good pitching. The answer that night was a good one.

Things started ominously for us, as Evan Brannon took a ground ball in the mouth during infield practice. I told him we were sending him to the ER to find a dentist. One of his two front teeth had been knocked loose, and was hanging about a quarter inch lower than the other. After four years of braces, Brannon expressed some reservations about going for treatment in Statesboro, but the local dentist did a good job putting things straight. Alex Fonseca filled in nicely. Fons really swung the bat well in light of his limited playing time over the past month.

We looked good in our first at bat, as Fonseca made Dove work before making an out, and then Mascia ran the count before lacing a single. Fiorentino then stepped in and drove a bullet over the fence for his first home run in a while. It got us going and I am sure, it felt good to Jeff. We hit the ball real hard the entire game. Rob Orton scorched two home runs, one to left center, the other to right center. Shaen O'Connor hit a big double down the line to break the game open. Their coach was real impressed with our team, saying that we were as good or better than any of the big name schools they had played. It's nice to hear good things about our kids. Core pitched five soild innings, followed by Beam and Pillsbury. That's not a bad trifecta!

Saturday was close. We led 3-0 thanks to back to back jacks by Horst and O'Connor. Rob hit a ball that was about two inches off the ground, and Shaen's ball went through a hole in the big tarp behind the centerfield fence. They had a big soft tossing lefty that gave us fits, but a pitching change by Tech proved to be just what we needed and our guys made it a laugher at the end. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. A certain unnamed senior pitcher finally got a chance to swing the bat after four years of pestering me. Despite waiting over 230 games for this moment, this poor guy was out on three pitches and never took a hack! Be careful what you ask just might get it! KC



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