The EMU Diamond Royals dropped both games of their opening conference doubleheader against Ferrum on Saturday. The Panthers (11-6/2-0 ODAC) took early leads in both games as the Royals were unable to sustain a comeback effort.
EMU has one more road matchup before a stretch of home games. They travel to Averett on Wednesday, March 11 for a game at 3:00pm.
Ferrum 8, EMU 4
The Royals (10-8/0-2 ODAC) offense struggled in the first few innings as the Ferrum jumped on the scoreboard early when a two-run homer put them in front.
EMU cut the deficit in half in the top of the third. Billy Quinn (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) singled to lead off the inning then advanced to third when Corey Willis (Fredricksburg, Va./Massaponax) singled through the right side. Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) brought Quinn home on a squeeze bunt for the RBI, but Willis would get stranded at second base.
The Panthers responded in the bottom of the third when EMU was plagued by three errors which allowed for four runs to score. Then a leadoff triple in the bottom of the fourth came home on a sacrifice fly as Ferrum expanded their lead to 7-1.
Another sacrifice fly in the seventh inning gave the Panthers one more insurance run late in the game.
EMU broke through offensively in the top of the eighth inning when Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) hit a three-run home run that scored Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) who reached on a fielder's choice and Merica who singled with two outs.
The Royals were able to get two runners on base in the top of the ninth, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the comeback effort in game one.
John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) started the game and threw 5.0 innings with seven strikeouts. Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) threw in relief going 3.0 innings strong only allowing one hit and striking out two.
Ferrum 4, EMU 2
Game two was much of the same as the first as Ferrum scored in the first inning on an RBI double. Then a tough third inning for the Royals saw three more runs come across for the Panthers on a couple bases loaded walks and a sacrifice fly.
After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the third, EMU scored their first run in the sixth inning. Lindsay and Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) started the frame with back-to-back singles. Robert Guenther (Falls Church, Va./George C. Marshall) hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Lindsay as Tricarico was left stranded.
The Royals scored again in the top of the eighth. Judy singled in front of Guenther, who doubled to right center with one out. Skylar Lacks (Randolph, Va./Randolph Henry) drove in Judy on an RBI groundout then Blake Schaar (Orange, Va./The Covenant School) walked to put the tying run on base, but Ferrum was able to pitch their way out of the inning.
Gage Riddick (Gates County, N.C./Gates County\) threw 3.1 innings as the starting pitcher striking out two batters. The bullpen for the Royals kept them in the game as they combined to only allowed four hits in the remaining 4.2 innings.