Penned from the 'Pen: Split in the Palmetto State
Alex Lakatos

March 18, 2014

Throughout the 2014 season, senior right-handed pitcher Alex Lakatos will give fans an inside look at Team 148. The second edition of "Penned from the 'Pen" talks about weekend split at the College of Charleston Tournament.

FRIDAY- Appalachian State
Back in the sunshine and excited to escape the relentless vice-grip of Mother Nature herself, we were excited to be back in the warm weather and welcomed the South Carolina sunshine. With the last weekend of out-of-conference play at hand, we were anxious to settle some scores and collect some W's.

Trent Skutnik gave us a solid pitching performance on the mound and set the tone for what would be an exceptional weekend of pitching and defense for the team. We scrapped a few runs early, and got big offensive performances from Travis Maezes and newcomer Kendall Patrick. They say that pitching and defense win championships and Jackson Glines provided an enormous lift in the eighth inning when he threw a runner out at home to preserve a victory.

Saturday was a very interesting day. Because it was a doubleheader, the games were changed from the traditional nine-inning format to two seven-inning contests, which is somewhat unusual in today's college game.

College of Charleston got on the board early thanks to a routine fly ball that got trapped in a gale-force wind and ended up on the wrong side of the fence. Because we were playing a shortened game, we knew we didn't have long to wait around, and needed to attack early.

Thankfully, Travis had another outstanding offensive performance and tied the game in the 3rd with an absolute nuke over the right field fence.

Unfortunately, they scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and we were unable to push another one across. Evan Hill threw all six innings and gave us a chance to win the game, we just failed to perform when we needed it the most.

Thankfully, we didn't have long to dwell on the defeat, as Game 2 started only 45 minutes after the first game ended. Travis Maezes once again provided a spark, and set the tone early by depositing the first pitch of the game over the right field fence.

College of Charleston was a very solid ball club that strung some hits together. But, we had our chances to answer, squaring some balls up that just couldn't find a gap. It's tough playing such short games, because each inning is so much more magnified without nine innings to work back from a deficit. Although the losses hurt, we knew we were only two runs away from two victories and knew we needed to rebound on Sunday.

Sunday morning came quickly (with an 11 p.m. bedtime the night before and a 6 a.m. wake up for a 10 a.m. game) and we knew we had a fantastic opportunity playing Kent State, a traditional Midwest powerhouse only two years removed from a College World Series appearance.

Fifth-year Senior Ben Ballentine was on the bump and gave us one of the best starts in his career. He had three pitches working early and kept an extremely solid ball club at bay for seven innings.
Jacob Cronenworth came in to shut the door in the 9th, throwing only 1 ball in 12 pitches, securing his second save of the weekend and ensuring a 3-2 victory.

It was an exclamation mark on a very solid weekend. Although we didn't get the results we would have liked, we continue to trend upwards as a ball club and playing such a tough out-of-conference schedule has only prepared us for the challenges that lie ahead.

We are back on the bus Thursday afternoon as we head to Bloomington, Indiana to take on Big Ten rival Indiana University in a 3-game series to open up conference play.

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