EMU's baseball team broke open a close game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth and rolled to their fourth straight win, a 9-4 decision over Penn State-Harrisburg Friday afternoon at the EMU Baseball Field.
The two teams finish off their two-game set on Saturday, with an adjusted start time of 9:00am. After already playing one game a day earlier than previous scheduled, the first pitch of Saturday's game was moved another two hours earlier in an effort to be able to finish before the forecasted rains spread over the Shenandoah Valley.
Eastern Mennonite got three hits from freshman Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Denbigh), including his first homerun, and solid pitching performances from Austin Carroll (Chester, Va./Matoaca) and Michael Wilhite (Hershey, Pa./Lower Dauphin) in Friday's win.
After the Nittany Lions scored first with a solo homerun in the top of the second, Lee duplicated the feat with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the frame.
Penn State-Harrisburg used small ball to get back in front in the fourth, but Lee shot a triple to right to lead off the bottom of the frame, and tied the score at 2-2 when Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) sent a sacrifice fly to center.
Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) gave the men their first lead with an RBI single in the fifth, but the Lions got a homerun in the sixth to tie it again.
Eastern Mennonite finally broke things open in the bottom of the sixth.
The inning started out innocently enough, with back-to-back outs, but two walks and an infield single loaded the bases. Roberts got the first clutch hit by driving a single through the right side, bringing in two runs. EMU's shortstop then stole second base to put two runners in scoring position, which turned out to be a key play when Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) pushed a single into center, plating two more runs for a 7-3 lead.
The Lions got another solo homer in the seventh, but the Royals put the finishing touches on the scoring with RBI hits from Matt Curry (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) and Tyler Wilcher (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap) in the bottom of the frame.
Wilhite, who entered with two outs in the sixth, limited Penn State-Harrisburg to a single hit in the each of the seventh and eighth frames, before working out of a small jam in the ninth. He earned the win by allowing just one run with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief.
Lee batted 3-5, missing the cycle by a double, as he collected his third multi-hit outing over the last four games. Roberts had two singles, two walks and three RBIs. Daniel Scott (Moneta, Va./Staunton River) reached base four times with two singles and two bean balls. Frazier had a pair of hits and Wilcher was 1-2 with two walks.
In his first appearance of the year, Carroll struck out six in 5.2 innings, while giving up three runs.