The two teams will play again Sunday with the South Region title on the line. Game time is still to be determined due to rain in the forecast.
Emory (33-11) advanced to play Bridgewater (36-13) by defeating Shenandoah, 12-8, earlier Saturday. The hour break between games didn’t cool down the Emory bats.
Emory threatened to take a big lead early as the first four batters in the game reached on base hits Wes Peacock beat out an infield single to short and Brandon Hannon was safe on an infield hit between home plate and the mound. Brett Lake lined a single to center, scoring Peacock with the first run of the game. Bridgewater pitcher Corey Armentrout then picked Hannon off second for the first out of the inning. Daniel Iturrey singled to put runners at first and second before Bryan Sanderson made a diving stab of Jared Kahn’s liner for the second out of the inning. Armentrout retired Jared Welch on a fly ball to center to escape the inning with just one run on the board.
Emory put five runs on the board in the top of the third to open up a 6-0 lead. Peacock led off with a single and back-to-back walks to Hannon and Lake loaded the bases with no outs. Iturrey blooped a single to right, scoring Peacock from third. Lake took a big turn at second and when the Eagles tried to throw Lake out as he returned to the bag, Hannon scored to make it 3-0. After a sacrifice bunt, Jared Welch chased home two runs with a triple, giving Emory a 5-0 lead. Welch scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Selbach to make it 6-0.
Bridgewater got on the board in the bottom of the fourth against Emory starter Paul Merolla. Brendan Howell walked and scored on Bay Liskey’s long double to the wall in left-center field, making the score 6-1.
Emory responded with four runs in the top of the fifth to take a commanding lead. Welch led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Selbach. Welch scored on a sacrifice fly by Philip Maldari to make the score 7-1. After Jack Karras walked, Peacock grounded into a force out at second, giving Emory runners at first and third with two outs. Selbach scored when Hannon beat out an infield single, for an 8-1 Emory lead. Brett Lake’s single to right scored Peacock and Hannon scored when the throw to third from outfielder Nick Fulk skipped past Petock, making the score 10-1.
Bridgewater added a run in the bottom of the sixth. Bryan Sanderson doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a groundout by Hynes, Sanderson scored on a long sacrifice fly to right by Brendan Howell,, making the score 10-2.
Emory tacked on another run in the eighth on a run-scoring single by Iturrey, making the score 11-2.
The Eagles added their final run in the bottom of the ninth on a double by Hunter Hensley and a run-scoring single by Ryan Fitzgerald.
Merolla, a 7-foot tall right-hander, gave Emory a quality start in the victory. Merolla allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings on the mound. He struck out three and walked two.
Iturrey paced Emory’s 14-hit attack with a 3-for-4 game at the plate and two RBIs. Lake and Welch also drove in two runs each for the winners.