For a few innings, Tuesday's game with Hood looked like a pitchers' duel. Then the teams combined to score 13 runs in the sixth as Eastern Mennonite grabbed a 9-7 win. Next a thunderstorm rolled in and game two of the doubleheader was cancelled.
But at the end of the day, the Lady Royals showed their firepower and improved their newest winning streak to four games as they prepare for Thursday's showdown with rival Bridgewater College at JMU's Veterans Memorial Park.
EMU scored first against Hood, getting two-out doubles from Sara Jenkins (Stanley, VA/Page County) and Jordan Aylor (Madison, VA/Madison County) in the second to go up 1-0. The Blazers quickly tied it in the third, bringing in a score on an illegal pitch from Aylor, but the women scored another single run their half of the third. Lisa Lee (Buckingham, VA/Buckingham County) hit a one-out single to left, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI groundout from Brooke Hensley (Elkton, VA/Spotswood).
In the fifth, the Lady Royals had runners on second and third with no one out, but three short fly balls left them stranded.
The Blazers then broke loose in the top of the sixth. Six base hits, combined with a couple of EMU errors, and Hood plated six runs to skip ahead 7-2.
Instead of getting deflated, the Lady Royals took out their frustration on the little yellow ball. Rasheeda Crews (Brookneal, VA/William Campbell) started things off with a sharply hit single up the middle. Three hits later, a pair of runs had scored. Lee then laced a double to left center, bringing in two more runs to slice the lead to 7-6.
With Lee on third, Hensley laid down a beautiful squeeze bunt, singling in the process. Lee came racing home on the play, tying things up at 7-7. After a fly ball made the second out of the inning, the Blazers' shortstop muffed a groundball to keep the rally alive. Crews got her second single of the inning to load the bases, and Jenkins came through with the clutch single through the left side, bringing home two runs and putting the women up 9-7.
The women then took the field in the top of the seventh, with Lee replacing Aylor in the circle. After giving up a double and a walk, Lee settled down and struck out two straight batters. A slow roller to second base easily turned into the third out as EMU grabbed the win.
Just as soon as the players started heading for their dugouts, officials cleared the field because of lightning. Within a few minutes it was raining and game two of the twinbill was cancelled.
The two teams combined for 25 hits in the game, with 14 coming in the sixth inning. EMU had a 15-10 edge.
Jenkins led the charge for the Lady Royals, going a perfect 4-4 from the plate with two doubles and the game-winning RBIs. She also scored twice. Lee, the reigning ODAC Player of the Week, was 3-4 from the leadoff spot, complete with two RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases.
Crews had a pair of hits, both in the sixth, and Megan Viafora (Stanley, VA/Page County) also had two hits. Hensley collected two RBIs.
Despite struggling in the sixth, Aylor took the win to improve to 5-1. She allowed nine hits and five earned runs in her 6.0 innings. Lee picked up her first save of the year for a scoreless seventh.
Eastern Mennonite improves to 15-2 on the year. The women now turn their attention to Thursday's clash with rival and No. 24 Bridgewater College. The two teams play an ODAC doubleheader at JMU's Veterans Memorial Park starting at 5:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, with college students (with an ID) and ages 18 and under admitted free of charge.