Panthers face Georgia for first time ever


Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team will start three veteran pitchers in the three game series against the University of Georgia over the weekend for the first time in school history.

Jake Johansmeier will take the mound in the first game opposing Bulldog sophomore Robert Tyler.

On Saturday, Johnansmeier threw in a scrimmage on the football field and coach Jim Schmitz was impressed with how he did.

“I am being honest, he got away with off speed last year,” he said. “His goal has been to command the fastball and man was he good. He was really good. He has plus off speed. He has been our Friday night guy at different times since he was a freshman. We are really fortunate to have a guy with great makeup.”

In the other two games, red-shirt senior Christian Slazinik will oppose Bulldog junior Ryan Lawlor. In the finale, Panther senior Garrison Stenger will go up against Bulldog junior David Sosebee.

The three Georgia pitchers had a combined 3.34 earned run average last season. Eastern senior shortstop Dane Sauer understands how solid of a staff the Bulldogs have.

“We have to stick to our roles,” he said. “Basically, that means everybody is going to have a different part and we can’t get away from that. We’re going to have our power guys like Brant and “meat” drive guys in.

“We’re going to have Mitch and Caleb getting hits and getting on base. Guys like myself or 8,9 hitters need to be guys to get on base, bunt, walk or get hit by pitches. If everybody does what they are supposed to do, we should be fine.”

The Panthers took the opening game last season against No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette and that was it in the 4-game series as they lost the next three.

Sauer said the goal every weekend is to always take two out of three games.

“Just because it’s Georgia, doesn’t mean we’re looking to go there for the nice weather,” he said. “We’ve played the best of the best. I mean last year we played Vanderbilt and they won the World Series. That goes back to having veterans on our team. We’ve been in big situations, so I think that is something that can certainly benefit us.”

Sauer added that he wants his team to go down there and play solid baseball the way they know how to play it.

“We want our pitchers to go down and throw well, our hitters to have good at bats. It’ll be a fun weekend. It’s not every day a team like us gets to open up at a big school like that. That’s what I’m looking forward too most is just the atmosphere and hopefully some warmer weather.”

The Panthers and Bulldogs will get underway at 4:05 p.m. on Friday after a pre-game ceremony celebrating the $12 million dollar renovation to Foley Field. Saturday’s game will get underway at 11:05 a.m. and Sunday at 12:05 p.m.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].