Diamond Notes #2: Early Season Travel Another Challenge for Illini

Senior pitcher Lee Zerrusen checks in with the second installment of Diamond Notes.
Senior pitcher Lee Zerrusen checks in with the second installment of Diamond Notes.

March 3, 2011

Bright House Invitational Notes

Hey Illini Fans,

Last weekend we went Fort Meyers, Fla., and won two out of three games against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. FGCU was the preseason pick to win the Atlantic Sun Conference, so winning this series should be a big boost to our RPI. This weekend, we hop back on a plane to travel to the Orlando area to play Central Michigan, Stetson and Columbia. Central Michigan was picked to win the MAC West Division and Stetson recently swept Georgia so we will be facing some quality teams.

Early season travel can be very hectic, especially when combining it with schoolwork. A typical travel weekend for us usually starts around 2 p.m. on Thursday when we board a bus to the airport. Once we get to the airport, we have to check in over 30 people. Sometimes this goes smoothly, but it's often a long process. When we fly out of Bloomington, we usually catch a connecting flight in Atlanta. Most of the guys make a mad rush to Popeye's once we arrive, but I'm not a fan. From Atlanta, we board another flight to our final destination. Most trips we arrive well past 11 p.m., and by the time we get our bags and vans and make the trip to the hotel, it's well past midnight. That can get kind of rough when we have an early game the next morning. Sunday travel is a little more fast-paced and hectic. After the game, the team has to shower and rush to the airport in order to catch our flight home. The layover for our connector usually fits into a tight window. And it's usually past midnight by the time we arrive back in Champaign.

Keeping up with our schoolwork during these trips can be tough. I try to get as much of my reading done on the bus and plane as possible. Finding the motivation to do work that isn't due until the following week can be tough, though. During the weekend, most of our time is spent at the field and our focus is on baseball, so not much else gets done. With exams or work due on Monday, the Sunday travel day can be very stressful. Some people may think that making a trip to Florida every weekend would be great, but our weekend usually revolves around baseball and responsibilities at school, not vacation time.

If anyone has any questions or things that you want me to write about send me an email at

That's all for this week. Go Illini!
Lee Zerrusen