Starting the ODAC season with a run through the gauntlet of the league's top teams is paying off for EMU's softball women. The battle-hardened Royals swept an ODAC doubleheader on the road Friday, taking two wins from an upstart Randolph College squad.
Eastern Mennonite snaps a five-game skid with the victories. That stretch included four straight shutouts at the hands of defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan, ranked No. 1 in the national poll, and Randolph-Macon, ranked No. 4.
The Royals are now 15-9 overall and 3-5 in ODAC play. The women hope to host Lynchburg College on Sunday and Parent Recognition Day, with first pitch slated for 1:30pm in Harrisonburg.
EMU 9, Randolph 4
The Royals made a quick start in Friday game, which was moved up a day to beat Saturday's expected precipitation. Sydney Reath (Williamsburg, Va./Mercersburg Academy) and Sam Breeden (Aroda, Va./Madison County) hit back-to-back doubles with two outs in the first for a sudden 1-0 lead.
Reath led off the third with another two-bagger, and this time she started a three-run rally as the women opened up a 4-0 lead.
The WildCats (10-14/3-4 ODAC) scored twice in the fifth before a double play ball cut short a potential bigger inning.
Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) got one run back in the sixth when she led off with a walk and eventually touched home on a sacrifice fly from Tiffani Shaheen (Fluvanna, Va./Fluvanna County). Reath hit her third double of the game leading off the seventh, starting yet another rally. Michaela Nichols (Luray, Va./Luray) put a two-run single into center with two outs to cap a four-run frame, bumping the lead to 9-2.
The WildCats snuck in two unearned runs in their final at-bat, but there was no room for a comeback.
Reath and Breeden each had three hits to pace EMU's 14-hit attack. All three of Reath's hits were doubles, and she also scored each time she reached base. Hoskins finished 2-2 with a walk, scoring twice and driving in two more. Alia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) also had a pair of hits and accounted for two runs.
Kelsi Martin (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer) pitched the first 5.1 innings and improved to 7-2 as she allowed two runs. Reath threw the final 1.2 to earn her first save of the season.
EMU 5, Randolph 2
The women again took a quick lead in the nightcap, with Breeden's two-out double scoring an unearned run.
Miller had an RBI double in the third and back-to-back RBI groundouts in the fourth bumped EMU's lead to 4-0.
Reath cracked an RBI double with two away in the sixth for a comfy five-run margin.
Randolph made some noise in the seventh, using a two-run single to finally get on the board. However, Miller had enough gas from the circle to coax out back-to-back grounders to short, wrapping up the complete game win.
Miller was EMU's only player with two hits, while Shaheen and Erin Rockwell (Alexandria, Va./Bishop Ireton) each had a single with a walk. Shaheen and Danielle Brenneman (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) each scored two runs with Reath and Breeden each driving in two.
As pitcher, Miller improved to 4-1 with the win, holding the WildCats to five hits.