Despite getting only five hits, the Royals found ways to keep the pressure on Averett University. The Cougars' defense made four errors, and EMU capitalized on those mistakes, scoring three runs in a 4-2 road win Wednesday afternoon.
It was the third straight win for Eastern Mennonite, as they improve to 4-2 on the season. The start is even more impressive given the lack of experience on Coach Ben Spotts' roster, after graduating 12 seniors from the 2017 team.
The unconventional approach worked for the Royals from the start of the game, as they had the bases loaded in the top of the first thanks to a pair of walks and an Averett error. With two away, freshman Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) slapped a single down the right field line to knock in two unearned runs.
Starting pitcher Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) was on cruise control, facing only 14 batters through the fourth. The Cougars managed a pair of infield singles in the fifth, and they brought in their first run on a groundball in the infield. Hall escaped the jam with back-to-back outs, however, successfully stranding two runners to maintain the 2-1 lead.
Lindsay helped get the run right back in EMU's next at-bat, starting with a one-out single up the middle. The second baseman stole second, and eventually came home on an error to rebuild a two-run cushion.
Hall hit trouble again in the sixth, but struck out an AU batter looking to leave the bases loaded. Riley Wesp (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) threw the seventh and eighth innings, holding the Cougars at bay.
Meanwhile, the offense provided some insurance in the top of the eighth. Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) led off with a walk, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch. Lee came home on a groundout from Billy Quinn (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge), making it 4-1 and giving Quinn two RBIs on the day.
Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) then came in for the ninth, and earned his second save in as many days by allowing only a two-out unearned run.
Eastern Mennonite actually earned more walks than hits, drawing six free passes. Lee had two of them. Lindsay collected three of the team's five hits, adding a walk while accounting for three of the runs.
Hall scattered seven hits over 6.0 frames to improve to 1-1 with the win. The sophomore right-hander also struck out five Cougars, before Wesp and Brewer locked things down from the bullpen.
After sweeping Juniata on Tuesday, the Royals get a little break before hosting a pair of doubleheaders this weekend. EMU will keep one eye on the forecast as they prepare for sets against Penn State-Harrisburg on Saturday and Penn State-Altoona on Sunday. Scheduled start times both days is noon.