The dugout diaries: next pitch A Torero baseball player reflects on his experience as a student-athlete at USD

By Jack Shannon

The opening of Fowler Park was truly an amazing experience for all those that came out to the Ballpark. The hard work put in by those involved was on full display throughout the weekend. Unfortunately for the Torero baseball team, we were unable to get a win in the opening series against the San Diego State University Aztecs. I could think of a dozen reasons why we got swept this weekend, but in the end we simply just got beat.

Friday’s game marked the first night game in Torero baseball history and the first nationally televised Torero baseball game. Fox Sports San Diego covered the game and telecasted it nationally via Fox Collegiate Sports. The pre-game ceremonies centered around honoring Ron and Alexis Fowler for their generous donation to USD Athletics. Athletic Director Ky Snyder and President Dr. Mary Lyons each spoke prior to the game thanking the Fowler family.

Saturday’s game was the first official alumni day at Fowler Park. The inaugural alumni day was centered on the honoring of past Torero baseball coach John Cunningham. Past players were brought on the field prior to the game and watched as coach Cunningham was honored by having his number 33 retired. The Torero baseball team also wore throwback uniforms and hats that only had a “U” on the front to honor coach Cunningham.

Sunday’s game was a day game and it was also military appreciation day Military Appreciation Day. Prior to the game the Marine Corps party band performed and military personnel received tickets to the game at a discounted price. To honor those serving we wore a Torero blue and Columbia blue camouflage jersey, by far the coolest jersey I have ever worn.

This weekend’s series has taught our team a lot; most importantly we have work to do. We are bleeding inside and will have to wear this weekend’s losses for a while, but we won’t let this affect our play. It’s definitely not time to panic or worry, but there definitely needs to be a sense of urgency to get things going.

Although the negatives outweighed the positives this weekend, the positives were still significant. Offensively, junior shortstop Logan Davis had a great weekend at the plate, after struggling to find his rhythm for most of the fall and winter, Davis had six hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases over this weekend’s three games.

“Coach Johnson and myself have been working on my bat angle and focusing on hitting the ball hard on the ground,” Davis said. “I was able to that this weekend and get a few line drive hits.”

As far as Torero pitching, the bullpen was phenomenal. The combined efforts of freshmen PJ Conlon, Daniel Reitzler, Troy Connors, sophomore Max Homick, junior Sheldon Eckstrand and seniors Jack Shannon and Trevor Bayless limited the Aztecs to one run over 13 innings of relief while striking out 15 and only surrendering two walks.

Although the score wasn’t what we had hoped for, the weekend was still memorable as Fowler Park opened its gates.

As always, I encourage all of you to come out and support the team in the upcoming series against the Kent State University Golden Flashes. See you at the game!