The Eastern Mennonite baseball men had a successful Spring Break trip, winning four of their six games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. Now 9-5 on the season, the Royals are riding a four-game winning streak into their ODAC opener at Virginia Wesleyan.
First pitch of the conference doubleheader is set for noon on Saturday in Virginia Beach, Va.
Ursinus 2, EMU 1
Ace Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) was in fine form in Sunday's seven-inning opener, striking out three in a complete game. But the defense let him down by throwing away a sacrifice bunt play, allowing the Bears to score two unearned runs in the second.
Those runs turned out to be the difference, as EMU managed just a single run on Frazier's RBI single in the third. They left six men on base and grounded into three double plays.
Along with suffering his first loss as a pitcher at EMU, settling at 3-1, Frazier also had two of the team's five hits.
Ursinus 4, EMU 3
Zach Roberts (Stuarts, Draft, Va./Riverheads) knocked in the Royals' first two runs before scoring the third, as the men led 3-0 after three in the second game.
After allowing just one hit before that point, pitcher Tyler Campbell (Luray, Va./Luray) hit trouble in the fourth when the Bears put together three hits to tie the game at 3-3.
Ursinus got a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth, and then sent the men down in order in the seventh to grab the win.
Roberts led the offense with two hits, two RBIs and a run. Joe Hall (Gladys, Va./Rustburg) went 2-4 and scored two runs.
Campbell took the tough loss despite strikeout out eight in 6.0 innings.
EMU 7, Wittenberg 3
The men got back on the winning track on Monday, started by a two-out, two-RBI single from Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) in the top of the first.
The Tigers chipped in runs to lead 3-2 after five, but EMU batted around in the sixth to take over. Mathews started the inning with a walk, Hall later added a two-run triple, and Adam Marston (Woodstock, Va./Miller School) closed a five-run outburst with a sacrifice fly, as the Royals jumped ahead 7-3.
EMU 4, Wittenberg 3 – 10 innings
The nightcap turned into a drama-filled thriller, which went well beyond the scheduled seven innings.
The Royals scored twice after loading the bases in the first, and led 3-0 after five innings of play. Starter Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) finally hit some issues in the top of the sixth when Wittenberg put together four hits and scored two runs.
Wittenberg rallied in the top of the seventh, tying the score at 3-3 with an unearned run, before EMU got a double play and ground out to end the rally. The men nearly won it in the bottom of the seventh, but Hall was thrown out at home trying to score on Ryan Hedrick's (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) single to left.
After Josh Sydenstricker (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) took over for closer Hall, who was in his fourth inning of work, to get out of a jam in the top of the 10th, Mathews led off the bottom of the frame with a triple. The Tigers intentionally loaded the bases to set up a force-out at home, but David Meehan (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) negated that strategy when he sliced a single to left field to chase in Mathews for the walk-off win.
Hedrick paced a 10-hit team with three singles. Hall had two hits and a walk, scoring once and driving in another. Mathews was 1-2 with three walks.
Sydenstricker pitched 0.2 innings of relief, earning a win in his first appearance of 2017.
EMU 5, DeSales 3
In Tuesday's nine-inning affair, the Royals trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third before a two-out rally. Marston got the clutch hit, ripping a bases loaded double to bring in three and flip EMU ahead 4-2.
DeSales got within one with a run in the sixth, but Lowery got it back with an RBI single in the seventh.
The bullpen got scoreless innings from Sydenstricker, Kyle Johnson (Nathalie, Va./Rustburg) and Laitinen for the save.
Lowery batted 3-3 with two RBIs. Stanley had two hits and a walk, while Meehan reached base twice and scored two runs.
EMU 6, Marymount 2
Freshman Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) got his first collegiate start on Wednesday and was dominant. He didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning, and struck out six in 6.0 scoreless frames to get the win.
The offense, meanwhile, was hitting doubles like they were whack-a-moles. Kyle Salladay (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) and Marston hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the second to put the Royals ahead. When Joe Hall hit an RBI double and later scored in the seventh, the men were up 5-0.
Marymount scored both of their runs on a double in the eighth, but that was all EMU's pitchers would allow.
Sydenstricker and Laitinen again threw an inning of scoreless relief.
Seven of EMU's 10 hits were for extra bases, including six doubles. Joe Hall had two of them, scoring two runs with an RBI. Hedrick finished 2-4 with an RBI and a run.