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EMU upsets Randolph-Macon to advance in ODAC baseball tournament

EMU AthleticsAfter forcing the rubber-match by winning their first playoff game since 2002, EMU traveled back to Ashland on Sunday to try to extend their season and move on in the ODAC tournament.

A daunting task laid in front of them with the nationally-ranked Yellow Jackets standing in the way, but behind a complete game on the mound from Gage Riddick (Gates County, N.C./Gates County) and clutch offensive performances, EMU defeated the Yellow Jackets 7-4, taking the best-of-three series to move on to the semi-finals.

R-MC kept the Royals’ bats quiet in the first, then striking for two runs in the bottom half of the frame, taking a quick lead 2-0.

The Royals were not kept quiet long, though. In the top of the second, Natty Solomon (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite/Hesston) started off the inning with a single up the middle. Billy Quinn (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) stepped to the plate and knocked an RBI-triple, scoring Solomon all the way from first to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead in half. John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) then hit a flyball to left field, proving deep enough to score Quinn from third to tie up the score.

Randolph-Macon retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ethan Iannuzzi, scoring Grayson Bush from third who singled earlier in the frame.

In the top of the fifth, Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) and Ethan Spraker (Vinton, Va./William Byrd) both singled to get on first and second, but after Jordan Jones (Saxe, Va./Randolph Henry) lined out to center field, it came down to Jaylon Lee (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) with two away. Lee answered the call, knocking a towering shot over the left field scoreboard to plate all three runs and give EMU their first lead of the day, 5-3.

The Royals were not done yet, as Brett Lindsay (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) and Ray Tricarico (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) each knocked singles to extend the inning. Solomon tacked on two more in the frame with a double to center field, scoring both runners and extending the Royals’ lead to 7-3.

Randolph-Macon scored one in the bottom of the fifth, but that would be it for the Yellow Jackets, as Riddick settled into a groove on the mound, retiring the side in order in the sixth, seventh, and eighth inning.

Head coach Adam Posey felt confident in his right-hander, sending him out in the bottom of the ninth to finish what he started and give his team the complete game performance. A lone single was all the offense that the Yellow Jackets could put together, as Mike Nickles lined out to third for the final out and send the Diamond Royals into celebration.

Riddick allowed just three earned runs in the contest with two strikeouts to nab the complete game victory.

Lee had two hits on the day, with the biggest blow being his three-run home run in the fifth, which proved instrumental to the momentum shift leading to the win.

Solomon also had two hits and two-RBI on the day.

With Shenandoah defeating Hampden-Sydney, the Royals will travel to Winchester to take on the Hornets in the semi-finals.

Head Coach Adam Posey on the win:

“I’m just so proud of our guys. The guts and grit and determination from our men is unbelievable, and they are doing program-defining type of things in the toughest of conditions. The performances from guys throughout our roster are some of the most special moments I have been a part of.”


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