Just two days removed from a solid layer of snow falling in the Harrisonburg area, EMU's softball women enjoyed 60-degree temperatures in Sunday's home opener. The Royals split their doubleheader with visiting Wilkes University, snapping a four-game winning streak but pushing their overall record to 6-2.
Eastern Mennonite stays at home for their next three dates, all non-conference. The women host Mary Baldwin on Wednesday, with first pitch at 3:00pm on Gehman Field. They will also host Averett next week Sunday and Southern Virginia the next day.
Wilkes 4, EMU 2 – 8 inn.
The Royals struggled to get hits in game one, but made up for it by drawing seven walks and getting a solid pitching effort from sophomore Alia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby).
After Wilkes took the first lead with a run in the third, Miller helped her own cause with a two-out RBI single in the fifth.
The Colonels snuck in a two-out unearned run in the top of the seventh to put the heat on EMU, but Casey Coleman (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Knolls) answered with a long homerun to straightaway center in the bottom of the frame, forcing extra innings.
Wilkes took advantage of another EMU error in the eighth, plating two more unearned runs to open up a 4-2 edge. With the courtesy runner and a one-out walk, the Royals had the tying runs on base in their half of the eighth, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the rally and the game.
Miller allowed just one earned run in 8.0 innings for the tough-luck loss. She also had two of her team's four hits. Danielle Brenneman (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) and McKenzie Reams (Gouchland, Va./Gouchland) each earned a pair of walks.
EMU 5, Wilkes 0
The Royals brought out their bats in the nightcap, starting with a leadoff single from Brenneman in the bottom of the first. She scored from second when freshman Nicole Mongold (Page County, Va./Page County) pushed a beautiful bunt single down the first base line.
EMU put together four more singles in the second, getting two-out RBIs from both Coleman and Mongold.
Brenneman came in again in the fourth, where she led off with a big double to center and Coleman followed with an RBI poke to right.
Miller added floated an RBI single to right in the sixth to make it 5-0.
Kelsi Martin (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer), meanwhile, was dominating the game from the circle. The lefty fired a trio of one-two-three innings, including in the seventh, and did not allow a Colonel runner to get past second base.
Martin improved to 4-0 with the four-hit shutout.
After setting a season high for walks in the opener, the offense could not manage one free pass in the second game. However, they did rap out 14 hits, the most in a game this season.
Miller banged out three hits, while Brenneman batted 2-4 and scored three runs. Coleman went 2-2 with two RBIs, while Mongold finished 2-4 with two RBIs and a run. Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) also had a pair of singles and touched home once.