Royals Walk To Split With Penn State-Altoona

Shortstop Zach Roberts batted 3-for-6 with four walks on Sunday. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Shortstop Zach Roberts batted 3-for-6 with four walks on Sunday. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's baseball men played two drama-filled games on Sunday, finishing with a walk-off walk in a nightcap shortened by darkness. The Royals split the day's action with visiting Penn State-Altoona.

The doubleheader completed a busy week of seven games in six days, most of them affected in some manner by the weather. The young Royals earned an impressive 5-2 finish for the week, improving to 6-4 on the season.

Eastern Mennonite hits the road on Tuesday, playing a single game at powerful Christopher Newport. First pitch in Newport News will be at 2:00pm.

Penn State-Altoona 6, EMU 4 – 11 innings
Starter Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) worked his way out of jams in each of the first three innings, stranding five runners over the span. The Royals had their chances as well before finally breaking through in the third. Frazier led off with a deep double to left and touched home on a clutch two-out single from Tyler McFadden (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem).

The Lions got their own two-out hit in the fifth, a bases loaded double to score all the runners for a 3-1 lead.

The lead did not last, however, as Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, chasing Penn State-Altoona starter Aaron Sharp. Roberts came home when the left fielder bobbled Frazier's double down the line. Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) singled and Frazier scored when the duo executed a double steal, tying the game at 3-3. The men loaded the bases with one out, but the Lions turned a double play on a hard-hit grounder to minimize the damage.

With neither team scoring over the next two frames, the seven-inning game went into extra innings. The Lions' George Stiuso led off the eighth and launched a homerun down the line to right, but EMU tied it back up when Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) drew a one-out walk and Roberts sent a two-out double off the right field wall.

The score stayed locked at 4-4 until the 11th, when the Lions took advantage of a two-out error by the Royals. Jim Shomberg shot a double to center, plating a pair of unearned runs and providing the final score.

Eastern Mennonite earned nine walks with eight hits in the game, highlighted by Roberts batting 2-4 with two walks. Frazier had a pair of doubles and scored twice, while leadoff man Daniel Scott (Moneta, Va./Staunton River) had two singles. Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) and Adam Marston (Woodstock, Va./Miller School) each walked twice.

Frazier struck out four in his 5.0 frames and Tristan Childress (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) gave up a single run in 2.1 innings. Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) entered in the eighth and took the hard-luck loss with two hits and two unearned runs in 3.2 innings.

EMU 7, Penn State-Altoona 6
The Lions carried momentum into the nightcap, earning a 3-1 lead. But Eastern Mennonite turned the tables in the bottom of the third.

Roberts drew a one-out walk to get things rolling. That turned out to be the first of three free passes in the frame. Lee tied the score with a two-run triple to the gap in left center. Freshman Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) gave the men the lead on a sacrifice fly and Tyler Wilcher (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap) added an RBI single for a 5-3 margin.

Starter John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) breezed through the fourth and fifth innings, and reliever Michael Wilhite (Hershey, Pa./Lower Dauphin) took over in the sixth, which figured to be the final inning as darkness was setting in. Wilhite whiffed through the first two batters before a walk started a rally. Three singles and a wild pitch later, the Lions had scored three runs to jump in front, 6-5.

Merica returned as a pinch hitter and led off the bottom of the frame with a quick single up the middle. A sacrifice moved him to second and Roberts followed with a gapper to left center, tying the game as he traded spots with Merica on second base.

The Lions intentionally walked Frazier to line up a potential double play before striking out Lee for the second out. Lindsay coaxed out a walk to load the bases, and Tricarico calmly took a full count pitch inside to draw another walk to force in the winning run.

EMU's offense again showed an impeccable eye at the plate, working out ten walks compared to just three strikeouts. Roberts, Frazier and Lindsay each had one hit and two walks. Roberts and Lee each accounted for three runs.

Wilhite improved to 2-0 on the season with the win. Judy allowed four hits over five innings in a no decision.