Baseball Men Downed By Top-Ranked Shenandoah

Jake Brown recovered after a tough first inning, but still suffered his first loss of the year. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Jake Brown recovered after a tough first inning, but still suffered his first loss of the year. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Royals ran into a powerful team on Wednesday in Harrisonburg, earning 10 hits but falling 10-3 to Shenandoah University in ODAC baseball action. Despite getting their hits off the conference's best pitching staff, EMU falls to 10-13 overall and 1-8 in the ODAC.

Thursday's game at Southern Virginia was postponed when the Knights were forced to reschedule a conference game for the same day, leaving Eastern Mennonite without a varsity game until Sunday when they host Hood College at 1:00pm. It will be the start of a busy home stretch for the Royals, who host five games next week and eight of their next nine overall.

The men fell in an early hole, giving up three runs in the top of the first to Shenandoah (19-1/5-1 ODAC), ranked No. 1 in the national poll. Eastern Mennonite left two runners on base in each the first and second frames, and SU took advantage of their chances to build up a 6-0 cushion midway through the fourth.

The Royals finally dented home in the bottom of the inning, when Ryan Hedrick (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led off with a single and Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) followed with an RBI triple. Mathews was stranded on third after three harmless out, but the offensive momentum built into the fifth.

Griffin Stanley (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) then led off with a double and Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) later brought him in with his own double, which also chased SU's starting pitcher, Robert Klinchock. Hedrick added an RBI groundout as EMU got within 6-3.

But reliever Michael Bugonowicz (3-0) took over from there, allowing only a pair of singles over the final four frames. The Hornets scored a single run in the sixth and knocked out the Royals with three more runs in the eighth to produce the final seven-run margin.

Mathews and Joe Hall (Gladys, Va./Rustburg) each had a pair of hits for Eastern Mennonite. Hedrick was the only batter to score and drive in a run. The Hornets own the ODAC's best team ERA at 3.60.

Senior Jake Brown (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) started on the hill and gave up six runs in 3.0+ innings, falling to 1-1. Kyle Johnson (Nathalie, Va./Rustburg) was the only reliever to not allow a run, pitching a scoreless eighth.

Coach Ben Spotts said his team played well at the plate and in the field: