EMU's baseball men hosted their ODAC opener on Saturday, falling twice to visiting Virginia Wesleyan. The Royals slides to 9-8 on the season.
Eastern Mennonite is scheduled for another home game on Tuesday, hosting nationally ranked Christopher Newport at 3:00pm. EMU beat the Captains 5-4 on the road on Feb. 27.
Virginia Wesleyan 8, EMU 3
The Marlins took advantage of their chances early, scoring a single run in each of their first three at- bats. Eastern Mennonite got things rolling in the bottom of the third, when Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) and Daniel Scott (Moneta, Va./Staunton River) led off with back-to-back walks. Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) plated one run with a double, and Tyler McFadden (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) added an RBI single to get the men within 3-2.
VWU snuck in an unearned run in the fifth, and then chased Frazier from the hill with a pair of singles to start the seventh. Reliever Tyler Campbell (Luray, Va./Luray) struggled with his control, but limited the damage to one more unearned run. Campbell struck out the final two Marlins to leave the bases loaded and keep his team within 5-2.
However, the Royals could not piece together multiple baserunners until the ninth, when they trailed 8-2. Merica reached on an error and Frazier hit the gap in left-center to bring him in.
EMU was out-hit 14-6 in the opener, and hurt themselves with six errors. Three of VWU's runs were unearned.
Frazier batted 2-5 with a pair of RBI doubles. He also pitched 6.0+ innings and gave up nine hits and five runs in the loss. McFadden finished 2-4 with an RBI and Merica had a hit and a walk, scoring two runs.
Virginia Wesleyan 17, EMU 9
The Marlins started the second game much like the first, using an extra base hit to take a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat. The visitors kept chipping in runs to build a 5-0 cushion heading into EMU's half of the fifth.
Eastern Mennonite got going in the bottom of the frame, aided by Tyler Wilcher (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap) reaching to start the at-bat when VWU's catcher dropped a third strike. The Royals started a two-out rally and plated four runs on RBI hits from Roberts and Frazier.
What had been a quick-moving game slowed to a crawl after the inning. The Marlins scored three runs in the top of the sixth, but left the bases loaded. EMU struck another two-out rally, with Scott rapping a double to plate the second and third runs, getting the men within 8-7.
Virginia Wesleyan scored one more run in the seventh before a two-spot from EMU finally tied the score. Wilcher chased in McFadden with a bloop double down the left field line to lock it up at 9-9.
The Marlins did not slow down, however, with their first five batters reaching base in the eighth. They scored four more times, capped by a two-run homerun, to take back all the momentum the Royals had grabbed.
EMU had two on base with one out in the bottom of the frame, but couldn't get another rally going. VWU finished it off with another four-spot in the ninth for the 17-9 final.
The offense had a good showing in the nightcap, with each of the starting nine earning their way on base with either a hit or walk. Frazier had a three-hit effort with an RBI. Scott and Roberts each reached base twice, and each accounted for three runs as well. Merica batted 2-4 with a walk, scoring twice.
Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) started on the mound and gave up five runs in a 5.0 inning no-decision. Of EMU's seven pitchers, only Spencer Laitinen (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton), who earned the final out in the top of the ninth, was not tagged for at least one run. Michael Wilhite (Hershey, Va./Lower Dauphin) was charged with the first two runs in the eighth inning and fell to 2-1 with the loss.