Great Weather As Royals Win 2017 Opener

Kyle Mathews led EMU with four hits on opening day, including a pair of doubles. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Kyle Mathews led EMU with four hits on opening day, including a pair of doubles. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's baseball men started out the year with a split after winning the first game of a season-opening doubleheader Saturday in Harrisonburg. The Royals enjoyed temperatures in the 60s, a 30-degree improvement from the day before, to treat the home crowd of 175 to a great opening day.

The men have a week off before their next games, another Saturday doubleheader against a Pennsylvania school, as Juniata College comes to visit next Saturday. The early-season set will again be a pair of seven-inning games. First pitch is at noon.

EMU 7, Penn State-Altoona 2
The Royals jumped on the scoreboard quickly, plating two unearned runs in the their first at-bat. The men added one in the second and two more in the third to open up a 5-0 cushion.

Starting pitcher Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) faced the minimum through four before getting into trouble in the fifth. The Lions loaded the bases with no outs, but Frazier kept the ball in the infield and only allowed one run on an RBI groundout.

An RBI single in the bottom of the frame got one run back, and another scored on a double steal to make it 7-1.

Penn State-Altoona scored an unearned run the sixth but that was all reliever Jake Brown (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) allowed in his two innings as EMU got the easy win.

Frazier struck out five in 5.0 frames to get a win in his first appearance as a Royal. The right-hander used just two seasons of eligibility at D-II Concord University before graduating early and entering EMU's graduate program.

Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) batted 3-for-3 with a run and RBI, while David Meehan (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) had a pair of singles and accounted for two runs. Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) and Kyle Salladay (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) each scored twice and Joe Hall (Gladys, Va./Rustburg) added a pair of hits.

Penn State-Altoona 6, EMU 4
The offense struggled to get things going in the second game, despite drawing five walks through three innings. The Royals got their first hit in the fourth, and trailed 3-1 before tying it up in the bottom of the sixth. Meehan hit an RBI single and Griffin Stanley (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) added a two-out RBI, although the men still left two on base.

The Lions got to EMU's bullpen in the seventh, leading off with a single and walk. They took the lead on a sacrifice fly and then added two insurance runs with a two-out bases loaded single.

Mathews hit a one-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh, but Frazier's liner down the first base line was snagged for the second out, and a grounder to shortstop ended the game.

Eastern Mennonite had five hits to go with eight walks, and left nine men on base. Mathews went 1-2 with two walks, adding a run and RBI. Roberts and Ryan Hedrick (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) each walked twice as well.

Starter Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) gave up three runs, two earned, in four innings. Tyler Campbell (Luray, Va./Luray) pitched 2.1 innings and took the loss with two runs. John Dudley (Raphine, Va./Riverheads) got the final two outs but also allowed one run.

Coach Ben Spotts said his team has benefitted from the chance to practice outside recently: