Despite a rain delay of nearly four hours, EMU's baseball men came out ready to play Tuesday night at No. 24 Shenandoah University. The Royals scored first and had a lead of 5-1 before eventually dropping a 7-6 decision to SU.
Eastern Mennonite falls to 11-12 on the year and 2-6 in the ODAC. They face the prospect of another wet day on Wednesday when they host Washington and Lee. Game time in Harrisonburg is set for 3:00pm.
The Royals took advantage of their opportunities early, starting when leadoff batter Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) struck out but reached first because of a wild pitch. With two outs, Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) cashed in on the extra out with an RBI double.
A hit batsman followed by back-to-back errors gave EMU a 2-0 lead in the second.
Shenandoah (11-6/3-3 ODAC) finally got their first run in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out passed ball, but the men hit it big in the fifth. Merica again got things going with a leadoff single. Tricarico followed suit with another two-out hit, this time bringing in two runs. Corey Willis (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax) added an RBI double to make it 5-1.
After managing just three hits off starting pitcher John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) through the first five innings, the Hornets strung a few at-bats together in the sixth. A two-run homer started a four-run frame, as Judy exited after giving up a game-tying sacrifice fly.
The back-and-forth continued in the next inning, as Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) led off with a single and the Royals loaded the bases with just one away. Justin Parrish (Yorktown, Va./York) took a beanball to score Lee, putting the men back up, 6-5, but they also left the bases packed.
SU opened their half of the seventh with a walk, and earned their first lead of the night on back-to-back two-out RBI hits. The 7-6 lead stuck.
Eastern Mennonite had their chances in each of the final two frames. They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but a fly ball ended that chance. In the ninth, Willis led off with a single and the Royals had two runners on base with just one out. This time a grounder to third turned into a 5-4-3 game-ending double play.
The men paired nine hits with four walks, but also left 12 runners on base.
Tricarico finished 2-4 with a walk, driving in three runs and scoring one of his own. Lee batted 2-4 with a walk and scored twice. Willis was 2-5 with an RBI and Merica touched home two times. Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) and Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) each had a single and a walk.
Jonathan Nagle (Chesapeake, Va./Portsmouth Christian) took the loss in relief, giving up two runs in 1.1 innings of work. Judy struck out six in his 5.2 frames and Tristan Childress (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) pitched a scoreless eighth.