Two times EMU's softball women put themselves in position to win, but both times, they came up one swing short, as they dropped both ends of a Sunday doubleheader against Lynchburg College.
The Royals dropped game one of the home twinbill by a single run, leaving the tying and winning runs on base when the game ended. In the nightcap, the women had the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Eastern Mennonite settled at 15-11 after the losses, including 3-7 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The Royals have just one more home date left on the schedule, when they host Shenandoah University this Tuesday. First pitch on Gehman Field is 3:00pm.
Lynchburg 5, EMU 4
The Royals hampered themselves in the opener, committing five errors while also leaving 11 runners on base. Primed by EMU's miscues in the field, Lynchburg (21-9/7-5 ODAC) took a 5-0 lead, with the only earned run being the batter on a two-run homer in the top of the fourth.
Relief pitcher Sydney Reath (Williamsburg, Va./Mercersburg Academy) took over after LC's homer and retired the first seven batters she faced. The junior only allowed two baserunners in 4.0 frames, walking one while the other reached on an error.
That opened the door for a comeback, which began in the bottom of the fourth with a groundout from Danielle Brenneman (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) chasing home Kelsi Martin (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer), who had led off with a single. Martin then fulfilled a two-out rally in the fifth, smacking a two-run double to center to cut the margin down to 5-3.
EMU wasted a leadoff single in the sixth, but came knocking again in the seventh, started by a leadoff single from Sam Breeden (Aroda, Va./Madison County). Alia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) brought in the run with a one-out double, and Martin followed with a single to put runners on the corners. A stolen base put runners on second and third with just one out, but the Hornets brought in their third pitcher for the game, Kayley Cox, and the freshman coaxed out two short groundballs to leaving the tying and winning run stranded in scoring position.
The Royals had a sizeable 11-4 advantage in hits, led by Martin who was a perfect 3-3 with a walk. She drove in two runs and scored a third. Miller and Madison Cash (Staunton, Va./Riverheads) each had a pair of hits, while Erin Rockwell (Alexandria, Va./Bishop Ireton) walked twice.
Martin (7-3) also took the loss from the circle, although only one of her five runs were earned. Reath struck out five in her four innings of relief.
Lynchburg 6, EMU 4
The Hornets again got on the board first in the nightcap, scoring single runs in each the first and second innings. Miller tied the game with a clutch two-out bases loaded double in the third, but the Royals were denied the lead when Martin's line drive was snagged by the LC third baseman.
The game stayed at 2-2 tied until the top of the fifth. After back-to-back one-out walks, a quick line drive over the fence in left field put Lynchburg back in front, 5-2. A two-out-RBI single made it 6-2.
Eastern Mennonite looked to make an immediate dent in that margin in the bottom of the frame when they loaded the bases with nobody out. However, two groundballs squelched the rally, with the first turning into a force-out at home, and the second an inning-ending double play.
Tiffani Shaheen (Fluvanna, Va./Fluvanna County) got the women rolling in their final at-bat, slapping a leadoff single through the right side. Reath followed with a long double to bring in Shaheen before the rally resumed with two outs. Rockwell shot an RBI single up the middle to make it 6-4, and Breeden reached on an error to put the go-ahead run at the plate. Cash came in as a pinch hitter, but she sent a chopper back to the pitcher for the final out.
EMU combined eight hits with four walks in the game, but still left 10 runners on base. Miller and Makayla Morris (Stanardsville, Va./William Monroe) each had a pair of hits, while Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) drew a pair of walks. Rockwell and Brenneman each reached twice with a single and a walk.
Miller was tagged for all six runs in her 5.0 innings in the circle and fell to 4-2 with the loss. Martin threw two scoreless frames.