EMU can score runs this year. But stopping the other team has proven difficult at times. Monday night the Royals were at Shenandoah, ranked No. 12 and No. 18 in the two national polls, and the men led 11-7 before dropping a 19-11 decision.
The two teams have been developing a rivalry recently. In 2011, the Royals handed then-No. 1 Shenandoah their first loss of the year on March 25, a 4-3 decision in Harrisonburg. EMU did lose an earlier meeting this year, 14-4, on Feb. 22.
Starter Beau Banglesdorf (Stafford, VA/Mountain View) was touched up by the Hornets early Monday, as the home team plated six runs in the first three innings.
The Royals exploded in the fourth. They sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight, even after the first two were retired on groundballs. Banglesdorf started the parade with a double down the right field line. Dylan Smith (Sterling, VA/Park View) followed with an RBI single, and the men were in business.
Phillip Jordan (West Point, VA/Christchurch) added a two-run single. EMU strung together six hits and three walks, and then added a pair of runs on a passed ball and wild pitch to jump ahead 8-6.
SU got back one run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Royals scored twice in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
Eastern Mennonite's pitchers hit some trouble in the bottom of the sixth, giving up three hits and three walks as the Hornets scored three times to get within 11-10. After a rain delay, the defense was the letdown in the seventh, as the men committed four errors and allowed six unearned runs as Shenandoah retook the lead, 16-11. Three more in the eight provided the final score, 19-11.
The Royals had 12 hits and coaxed out eight walks, but couldn't overcome five errors. Jordan led the way by going 2-3 from the plate with three RBIs and a run scored. Justin Rodriguez (Miramar, FL/Pace) and Smith each had two hits with a run and an RBI.
Smith was also 2-4 with a run and Joshua Martin (Crozet, VA/Western Albemarle) rapped out two hits with a couple of runs scored.
EMU used seven pitchers in the game. Banglesdorf lasted 3.0 innings and was charged with six runs. Austin Marzullo (Shippensburg, PA/Shippensburg) pitched 1.0 inning and took the loss as he was charged with the six unearned runs.
Now 10-20 overall, Eastern Mennonite returns to ODAC play on Wednesday, travelling to take on rival Bridgewater College. The men are at Roanoke for two on Saturday, before playing a makeup game at Guilford Sunday afternoon. The Royals also added a non-conference game at Greensboro Sunday evening following the game with the Quakers.