Pitching Pushes Royals Past Hornets For First Time Since 2011

Senior Riley Wesp allowed just an unearned run over two innings of relief. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Senior Riley Wesp allowed just an unearned run over two innings of relief. (photo by Scott Eyre)

For the first time since upsetting a then-No. 1 ranked Hornets team in 2011, the EMU Diamond Royals beat Shenandoah by a score of 8-4 on Tuesday afternoon. With the road victory, the Royals improve to 3-6 in conference play and 9-13-1 on the season.

In a mid-week match-up on the road, EMU looked to staff the game on the mound and throw different pitchers giving the Hornets a different look. As a pitching staff, the Royals did not give up an earned run.

Connor Lutz (Colonial Beach, Va./Colonial Beach) threw the first two innings matching a walk with a strikeout and Brendon Barrett (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) threw the third as the Royals got through the first three innings scoreless.

Shenandoah (9-5/5-3 ODAC) got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth inning when back-to-back singles with two outs led to the next three batters getting on base and scoring three runs.

Ethan Mathews (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) entered the game with two outs in the fourth and went on to throw the next 2.1 innings scoreless striking out two batters earning his third win of the season.

The Royals responded in the sixth inning with two runs of their own. Corey Willis (Fredricksburg, Va./Massaponax) got the offense going with a one-out single, then back-to-back walks loaded the bases. John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) then Matt Curry (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) both earned bases-load walks to bring two runs across. The Hornets were able to get out of the inning leaving three men on base.

EMU tied the game in the top of the seventh when Willis got it going again with one out by hitting an RBI double to score Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) who got on with a single. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Robert Guenther (Falls Church, Va./George C. Marshall) brought home Willis on a sacrifice fly to take the lead.

Judy began the bottom of the eighth with a double then was bunted over to third base. Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) hit an RBI single to left field then stole second base to get into scoring position for Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) who hit a single with two outs to score Jones, then got to second base on the throw. After Roberts was hit by a pitch, Willis stayed hot with a two-run double to left center that put the Royals total to eight runs.

Shenandoah added a run in the bottom of the eighth to narrow the gap to four runs. EMU loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but were unable to bring home an extra insurance run heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The first batter got on with a single, but a groundout and fly ball quickly put the Hornets down to their final out. Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) waited until the final batter to pick up his only strikeout, catching the batter looking to end the game.

Riley Wesp (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) threw the seventh and eighth, allowing one unearned run on two hits.

Willis finished a huge 4-5 day at the plate driving in three RBIs on two doubles. Curry, Judy, and Jones each had two hits and an RBI.

The Royals continue conference play hosting Guilford in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.