EMU baseball drops home opener

The weather was great for a home opener, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s, but the Royals came out on the short end of a 9-6 decision against Mary Washington on Wednesday afternoon.  Both pitching staffs struggled with their control, and the Eagles cashed in on more of their opportunities.

Eastern Mennonite loaded the bases with three one-out walks in the first, but couldn’t score.  Jonathan Estrada (Miami, FL/Doral Academy) started the rally with a double ripped down the left field line.  With two outs, Bryan Melendez (Lansdale, PA/Christopher Dock) put a ball in the same place to score Estrada.  After Ryan McAlister (Bridgewater, VA/Turner Ashby) reached on an infield single, senior Dylan Smith (Sterling, PA/Park View) shot a single up the middle which scored both runners to make it 3-0.

The Eagles got a two-out rally of their own in the top of the third, bringing in two runs to get within a score.  After EMU went down in order for the first time in the bottom of the frame, Mary Washington took over in the fourth.

Starter Andy Richter (Perkasie, PA/Christopher Dock), who had struggled with a flu bug over the weekend, wore down and walked four straight batters.  A two-run single put UMW up and chased Richter.  Reliever Adam Posey (Poquoson, VA/Poquoson) allowed one more run on a sacrifice fly, giving the Eagles a 6-3 lead.

Scoring then slowed down, as the teams couldn’t string together hits.  In the seventh, Mary Washington tacked on a single run.  The Royals got it back in the eighth, when B.J. Mortimer (Mechanicsville, VA/Lee-Davis) led off with a triple and came in on a balk.

The Eagles snuck in two more with a two-out single in the ninth, making it 9-4.  The two runs made a difference as EMU rallied in their last at-bat.

With one away, Smith singled and Beau Banglesdorf (Stafford, VA/Mountain View) walked.  Back-to-back singles from Joshua Martin (Crozet, VA/Western Albemarle) and Michael Wade (Waynesboro, VA/Fort Defiance) each plated a run, but a strikeout and ground out left two men on base and ended the game.

EMU coaxed out six walks, including three by Banglesdorf, and had 12 hits, but the Royals left 11 runners on base.  The men handed out nine of their own walks and allowed 11 Eagles hits.

Smith reached base four out of his five trips to the plate, with three singles and a walk.  He added three stolen bases and a pair of RBIs.  Melendez reached three times with two hits and a walk.  Banglesdorf also reached three times with his well-trained eye.

Wade and Estrada each had a pair of hits as well.

Richter lasted three-plus innings and was charged with six runs on six hits and four walks.  Posey allowed just one run and three hits in his five innings of relief.  Ryan Sanders (Stafford, VA/North Stafford) pitched the ninth and was charged with two runs.

UMW starter Torey Mancari pitched seven innings for the win, while striking out 14 EMU batters.

The loss drops the Royals to 1-2.  They hit the road for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend, playing at Averett on Saturday and Ferrum on Sunday.


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