The EMU Diamond Royals held on to an early lead to win on the road at Averett on Wednesday by a score of 7-5.
This was the eighth game in a row away from Harrisonburg for the Royals (11-8) as they now return their own field for a stretch of six home games. The first of those games comes on Saturday, March 14 as they host Lynchburg in a doubleheader beginning at noon.
The Royals loaded the bases in the top of the second inning before Gage Riddick (Gates County, N.C./Gates County) singled through the left side for two RBI. The next batter was Justin Parrish (Yorktown, Va./York) who brought home Blake Sargent (Suffolk, Va./King's Fork) on a fielder's choice as EMU finished with three runs in the inning.
Sargent started the fourth inning with a single as the Royals would load the bases for a second time. This time Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) picked up the clutch two-run single with two outs to build a five run lead.
Tyler Bagent (Chesapeake, Va./Portsmouth Christian) started the game on the mound for EMU as he threw the first four innings scoreless and only allowed one hit in the no decision.
The Cougars (0-17) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runs of their own. The Royals responded by adding a run in the top of the sixth when Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) hit a sacrifice fly to score Riddick who doubled to leadoff the inning. Then they scored an insurance run in the top of the eighth when Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) plated Riddick on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded.
Averett scored one run in each of the final three innings as they threatened a comeback. They loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Spencer Laitinen (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) struckout the final batter to earn the save and finish the win.
Riddick and Lindsay both finished with two hits and two RBI. Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) and Sargent each had two hits of their own.
Connor Lutz (Colonial Beach, Va./Colonial Beach) earned the win as he threw 3.0 innings in relief while striking out three batters.