Royals Sweep Shenandoah For First Time Ever In ODAC Play

Corey Willis hit a three-run home run in the second inning to jump start the offense. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Corey Willis hit a three-run home run in the second inning to jump start the offense. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Another come from behind victory for the Diamond Royals results in the first ODAC season sweep of Shenandoah since the Hornets joined the ODAC back in 2012. The 8-5 win moves the Royals to 8-9 in conference play and 14-18-1 on the season with just five games remaining.

EMU stays at home this weekend hosting Roanoke in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon. That day will also be Senior Recognition to honor the nine seniors before the game.

Shenandoah (19-10/9-8 ODAC) came out with a fire after dropping the first meeting between these teams two weeks ago in Winchester. A three-run home run to right field by Keegan Woolford in the first inning put the Royals in a hole before even coming to bat. Back-to-back walks began the second inning then a single loaded the bases with one out for the Hornets, but Ethan Mathews (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) entered the game in relief to get out of the jam with only one run coming across.

Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) started the second inning with a leadoff single to left center and Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) followed with one of his own. Those hits set the table for Corey Willis (Fredricksburg, Va./Massaponax) who took the first pitch he saw deep over the left field fence for a three-run home run to get the Royals back within one.

With Mathews keeping Shenandoah from scoring, EMU was able to take advantage in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) led off with a single followed by walks to Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) and Tricarico. Lindsay brought one run in on a high fly single to center field that was helped by the sun, and Willis was able to beat out an infield RBI single to give the Royals their first lead of the game.

After the Hornets got out of the inning without any other damage, a leadoff walk came around to score in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Frankie Ritter which tied the game.

EMU loaded the bases after two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh. The Hornets went to their closer to get out of the inning as the Royals sent a pinch hitter up to the plate. Jordan Brake (Roanoke, Va./Lord Botetourt) stepped into the box off the bench and fell behind to a 1-2 count. Brake turned on an inside fastball and sent a groundball through the left side of the infield to bring in two runs giving EMU the lead back.

A sacrifice fly by Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) in the eighth inning added an insurance run for the Royals heading into the top of the ninth. Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) stayed in to finish the game after throwing the past three innings scoreless. Shenandoah worked a leadoff walk to start the inning, but a groundball double play and lineout to centerfield closed the door.

Lindsay finished 3-5 with an RBI and scored twice. Jones and Roberts did a good job getting on base at the top of the order as each of them had two hits, walked once, and combined to score three runs. Willis finished 2-4 with the home run and drove in four.

Mathews threw 3.2 innings in relief giving up two hits and one run. Brewer earns his fourth win of the season throwing the final four innings scoreless giving up just two hits and allowing one walk. The Royals played their best defensive of the season compiling all 27 outs in the field without making an error as Shenandoah had no batters strikeout.