A day after combining for 50 runs over 16 innings, it looked like EMU and Southern Vermont would settle into a low-scoring affair. Then the seventh inning happened as the two teams put up nine runs. The Royals held the edge again on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of SVC with a 12-9 win.
Each team brought in a solo run in the first, with Justin Rodriguez (Miramar, FL/Pace) bringing in EMU’s on a sacrifice fly. The Mountaineers scored their second unearned run in the third, but the home team followed suit in the bottom of the inning when Chris Rodriguez (Miami, FL/Pace) scored as Dylan Smith (Sterling, VA/Park View) was caught in a run-down between first and second.
Eastern Mennonite starter Casey Harlow (Louisa, VA/Louisa County) continued sailing through the SVC lineup when he got some run support in the fifth. With an infield single and a pair of walks, EMU had the bases loaded with two away. Justin Rodriguez ripped a double to right field, plating a pair of runs. Smith was out at home trying to score from first, and was ejected for his collision at the plate, but the Royals had the 4-2 edge.
Southern Vermont broke through in the seventh, tying the game with two runs on a bases loaded single. But Harlow limited the damage by getting a grounder to third for an inning-ending double play.
Christian Rodriguez led off the bottom of the seventh by beating out a single, but he sat on second with two outs. The Mountaineers should have escaped unscathed, but the left fielder dropped a fly ball from Logan Toney (Chesterfield, VA/Manchester) which would have ended the inning. A run scored to put the men ahead, but SVC imploded from there, committing two more errors and giving up three additional hits.
By the time the dust settled on the long inning, EMU had sent 12 men to the plate and seven had scored, all unearned with two outs. The Royals led 11-5 and never gave up the lead.
Toney, who had replaced Smith at first, led off the eighth with a bomb over the left field wall, and the Mountaineers added a grand slam in the ninth, but Eastern Mennonite held on for the 12-9 decision.
The Royals only out-hit SVC by two, 15-13, but were helped by five Mountaineer errors. Chris Rodriguez was a sparkplug from the bottom of the order, singling all four times he batted. The freshman scored three runs and knocked in one.
Justin Rodriguez went 3-4 with three RBIs and a run. Toney scored twice and Ryan McAlister (Bridgewater, VA/Turner Ashby) had two RBIs. Beau Banglesdorf (Stafford, VA/Mountain View) and Michael Wade (Waynesboro, VA/Fort Defiance) each added two hits to the balanced attack.
Harlow threw seven strong innings, allowing just two earned runs to get his first win of the year. Joshua Martin (Crozet, VA/Western Albemarle) pitched 1-1/3 innings while Banglesdorf came in for the final two outs.
After scoring 45 runs in the weekend three-game sweep of Southern Virginia, Eastern Mennonite is now 4-5 overall. Next up the men step into ODAC play, traveling to Randolph-Macon for a doubleheader on Saturday.