February 18, 2012

Cougars Walk-Off EMU Twice In One Day

Saturday was about as frustrating as they come for the EMU baseball team.  Not only did the Royals drop two close games at Averett, but they lost them both in walk-off fashion.

Eastern Mennonite now has a few extra days off, as Sunday's doubleheader at Ferrum was called off due to the impending weather.  The two teams are targeting next Tuesday as a makeup date, although that rests on how much snow/rain Ferrum receives.

Averett 3, EMU 2
In the opener, the Cougars scored a pair in the bottom of the first, including a two-out unearned run.  The men got one back in their next at-bat, when Justin Rodriguez (Miramar, FL/Pace) led off with a double to left center.  After a sacrifice bunt, Jonathan Estrada (Miami, FL/Doral Academy) brought him in with an RBI groundout.

Baserunners were scarce for both teams until the final frame of the seven-inning contest.  Pinch hitter Phillip Jordan (West Point, VA/Christchurch) hit a one-out single.  Two batters later B.J. Mortimer (Mechanicsville, VA/Lee-Davis) singled through the right side to tie the score at 2-2.  A pair of fly balls ended the threat with two runners left on base, but the men had extended the game.

Averett played small ball to win it in the bottom of seventh, getting a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt and single through the right side to bring in the winning run.

Sophomore righty Adam Posey (Poquoson, VA/Poquoson) went the distance for EMU, spreading eight hits over his 6-1/3 innings.  He also struck out three but took the loss.

Mortimer went 2-3 from the plate with a walk and RBI.

Averett 6, EMU 5 – 13 innings
The nightcap went much longer than advertised before Averett its second dramatic win.

Neither team scored until the fourth, when the Royals got things going with one away.  Dylan Smith (Sterling, VA/Park View) singled and Rodriguez followed with a double.  Smith came touched home on an RBI groundout and Rodriguez came in on a wild pitch as the men jumped ahead 2-0.

But the Cougars grouped together three hits to score two of their own in the bottom of the frame to tie it up.  Averett then took their first lead in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single.

EMU came right back in the 7th with their own late rally.  With two away, the Royals got three straight singles to load the bases.  Smith shot a single through the left side to plate two run, tying the score at 4-4.

The game sailed into extra innings before the men took the lead in the 10th.  Posey rapped a pinch hit double to score Smith with one away, making it 5-4, but he was stranded on base.

Averett had the answer, though, getting an RBI double to tie it again at 5-5.

The Royals wouldn't get another baserunner before the Cougars grabbed the win with a one-out bases loaded single in the bottom of the 13th.

Each team had 14 hits in the second game.  Smith went 4-6 with two runs and two doubles.  Rodriguez added three hits, including a pair of doubles.  Mortimer had a pair of hits out of the leadoff spot.

EMU went through four pitchers in the lengthy game.  Starter Daniel Stanley (Henrico, VA/Varina) allowed four runs on six hits in 5-2/3 innings of work.  Beau Banglesdorf (Stafford, VA/Mountain View) took the loss although he only allowed the one run in 3-1/3 innings on the mound.  Andy Richter (Perkasie, PA/Christopher Dock) and Casey Harlow (Louisa, VA/Louisa County) each pitched in relief as well.

The tough losses drop the Royals to 1-4.  The men take on another USA South team, powerful Shenandoah, on Wednesday afternoon.  The Hornets are ranked No. 21 in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA national preseason poll.