Tuesday, March 24, 2009

27 Outs

Spring Trip: Day 5
Out number 27. It is the hardest out to get in baseball. There were a lot of tough outs during our 9-8 extra inning loss to Oglethorpe but none were tougher than that final out.

11:27 am - With a 7 o'clock start time tonight, we had the opportunity to sleep in so our day started a little later than usual. We gave the players their meal money the night before so they were on their own today. The coaching staff wanted to get out of the hotel so we took a cab into downtown Atlanta to get a feel for the city. After a quick stop outside of Turner Field, we headed into the downtown area to check out some of the sites.

After passing the State Capitol Building, we ended up at the CNN Center. We didn't take a full tour but we checked out some of the gift shops. Maybe if Robin Meade was giving her tour we would have stayed but we wanted to check out Georgia Tech's campus and get back to the hotel to get ready for tonight's game.

1:44 pm - We took a pit stop at the Georgia Tech student union and then made our way to the GT baseball field (check the blog later this week for a photo gallery of the week for pics of all the baseball facilities this week). It was a pretty nice set up, the campus itself was very clean, and their stadium reflected that. The field itself was immaculate. There were two grounds crew members cutting both the infield and outfield when we walked up to the dugout.

3:05 pm - We get back to the hotel with about an hour to spare before we depart for Oglethorpe. I was able to relax for a few minutes before getting tonight's charts ready.

4:45 pm - The bus pulled into Oglethorpe and the baseball field was right near the entrance. There was a medieval feel to the campus. I was told by some locals that the baseball field was supposed to be a fully enclosed coliseum but they never finished it when they no longer had a football team so the seating runs from home plate to the right field fence. There was a large dorm or academic building beyond right field that resembled a castle you would see at St. Andrews. The seating was set back from the field and after the nostalgia wore off, I realized that Emory offered a much better atmosphere.

5:00 pm - We were scheduled to take BP at 5 o'clock but the Oglethorpe coach changed his mind at the last minute so we didn't hit until 5:40. This wasn't a huge deal but we now had to kill 40 minutes. The players kept themselves occupied by playing flips in the bullpen and out near right field. I was talking with Bogan and Spehn about TV shows from the 80's.

7:03 pm - Matt Burke led off the game with a double to right-center and eventually scored the first of three runs that inning. Jeremiah Torres allowed one in the bottom of the first but pitched a solid five plus innings and Tyler Herman threw very well. Exactly what we were looking for out of the bullpen. We added on in the second and third to take an 8-1 lead but only managed two base runners from innings 4-9. Herman got an out in the 9th but after a bunt hit and a bloop single, we went to Dave Williams out of the pen. After falling behind 2-0, Williams had a great sequence to strike out the 3-hole hitter for the second out.

Everyone knows how the rest of the night went so the only thing I'll say is that the only way the late-inning collapses will stop is by stepping up and winning one. We need to find a killer instinct to sense when the opponent has phoned it in and given up where we can put them away. After falling behind 8-1, Oglethorpe was done. Their body language was terrible but we didn't sense that and we didn't put them away. This is something over time we will have to recognize and take advantage of if we are going to become the team we know we can be.

3:05 am - The coaches meeting ended and we retired to our respective rooms and tried to get some sleep. It is going to take a concerted effort from everyone on the team (coaches included) to get on track. Posts for days 6 & 7 will be posted along with some video and photos when we return on Thursday. Stay tuned.