By Ronald Hanaki
On March 25, KU Baseball dropped its road twin bill to the Bloomsburg University Huskies to open the 2018 season’s conference play. The Huskies got to KU pitching early, and BU’s pitchers flummoxed KU’s hitters all afternoon. The upshot was that BU swept KU 6-1 and 9-1 in two disappointing games.
KU Baseball Head Coach Chris Blum said, “In this league, anybody can beat you on any given day. If you don’t come ready to play, you’re going to lose.”
“We came into these games winning our last five out of six. We even beat Mercyhurst, and they were ranked No. 4 in the country. So, I was thinking that we had turned a corner ,so it was definitely disappointing to go up there and only score two runs all day,” Blum continued. “I thought that we would do a lot better than what we played.”
Redshirt senior pitcher Mike Kammerer started the first game for the Golden Bears. But right off the bat, it was obvious that he was having trouble locating the strike zone.
After a scoreless first inning, Kammerer gave up two walks in the bottom of the second inning that led to two runs for the Huskies.
The Golden Bears would get one run back in the next inning. Redshirt senior first baseman Ryan Cox singled and advanced to second. He then scored on junior shortstop Bo Rottet’s RBI single to make the score 2-1 Huskies.
But Kammerer’s control issues would be KU’s downfall. BU redshirt junior Shane Woelfel singled to center field. Then Kammerer threw two wild pitches that enabled BU’s 2014-2015 PSAC Scholar Athlete to advance to third base. Finally, a third wild pitch by Kammerer would score Woelfel.
The Huskies were up again by two runs, and would add three more insurance runs.
After that, Huskie junior starting pitcher Ashton Raines settled down. He held the Golden Bears scoreless for the next two innings and ran his season record to a perfect 4-0.
Bloomsburg won the first game 6-1.
Kutztown got off to a hot start in the second game. In the top of the second inning, junior catcher Nick Lafferty singled down the left field line and advanced to second on a Huskie fielding error.
A balk allowed Lafferty to reach third, and sophomore second baseman Mitch Pinder’s RBI single gave the Golden Bears its first run.
Unfortunately for Kutztown, Bloomsburg tied the game in the bottom of the second inning.
Then the Huskies blew the game open by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third inning.
KU did not have any more answers for the rest of the afternoon, and Bloomsburg took the second game 9-1 to complete the sweep.
“It was just a bad day for Kutztown Baseball,” stated Blum.
“The pitching wasn’t good, and the hitting wasn’t good,” said Blum. “That’s not a good recipe for winning.”
“We are striking out way too much, especially when we have runners in scoring position,” said Blum.
Overall, the team struggled. However, Blum offered some praise for his pitchers, Josh Houser and Kevin Sell.
Houser came out of the bullpen in the second game. He pitched the fifth inning and struck out the side.
Sell followed Houser in the sixth inning. He pitched one inning in relief and notched two strikeouts.
Blum remained optimistic.
“On the good side, that was only two games in the conference, and we have 26 more to go,” said Blum.
“But overall, we have to play better,” stated Blum.