The EMU Diamond Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to force extras in game two before a walk-off single won the game. After dropping the first game, the Royals were able to salvage the day with a split.
It is a quick turnaround for EMU as they return to the field Sunday, Feb. 23 for another 7-inning doubleheader as they host Penn St.-Altoona. First pitch on Sunday is at noon.
DeSales 11, EMU 0
It was a rough start to the day for the Royals (4-4) as they could not figure out starting pitcher John Poccia. The Bulldogs (2-3) on the other hand had no trouble finding the ball against Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) as he gave up four runs in the first three innings before being relieved in the fourth.
The first four batters of the fifth inning reached base for DeSales as they would go on to score four in the inning. EMU responded by loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Poccia worked his way out of it with a fly out. The Royals got men into scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but came up empty both times.
Poccia threw a complete game shutout, allowing eight hits while striking out five.
Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) and Blake Schaar (Orange, Va./The Covenant School) each went 2-3 in the game. Spencer Laitinen (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) and Cam Earles (Essex, Va./Essex) each threw a scoreless inning in relief for EMU.
EMU 7, DeSales 6 – 9 innings
John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) took the mound for the Royals in game two after earning ODAC Pitcher of the Week the previous two weeks. He gave up one run in the first after a leadoff runner came around to score, but then settled in to throw the next three innings scoreless.
Schaar got the EMU offense going in the second inning with a one-out single. Blake Sargent (Suffolk, Va./King's Fork) followed with a single of his own then Gage Riddick (Gates County, N.C./Gates County) hit an RBI single to tie the game. Corey Willis (Fredricksburg, Va./Massaponax) drove in Sargent with an RBI single to give the Royals the 2-1 advantage.
The Bulldogs were able to manufacture two runs in the top of the fifth on two more RBI singles in Judy's final inning on the mound. Judy struckout five and only allowed five hits on his way to a no decision.
Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) led off the bottom of the fifth with a single then Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) dropped down a bunt single that put Jones on third. Tricarico drove in both runners with a double to regain the lead.
A two-run triple in the top of the sixth gave Desales the one-run lead once again, and a solo home run in the seventh inning gave them some insurance heading into the last half.
Merica singled to lead-off the inning for Tricarico, who reached on an error as the tying run reached base. As the Royals were down to their last out, Sargent stepped into the box and roped a double into left field that brought both runners home to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Laitinen entered the game on the mound and threw a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to give EMU a chance to score.
Merica doubled to left field to start the bottom of the ninth. Then two intentional walks and a sac bunt loaded the bases with one out. Garrett Howard (Fredericksburg, Va./Courtland) stepped in and quickly was in an 0-2 hole. Battling in the at-bat, he found a pitch to handle and drove it to deep center field that the fielder had no play on as it landed to score the game-winning run in walk-off fashion.
Merica finished 3-5 with a double and three runs scored. Tricarico and Sargent both went 2-4 and had two RBI each. Laitinen earned the win as he only allowed one walk while striking out three without giving up a hit.