Emory’s bats went cold Tuesday night in a 5-0 loss to Berry College (Ga.). Earlier this past weekend, the Emory baseball team went 1-1 in a back-to-back series on the road against the North Carolina Wesleyan College Bishops Feb. 18. Emory overcame a two-run deficit in the final inning of the first game to take home a 7-5 victory and fell to the Bishops 5-3 in the second.
After the split and Tuesday night’s game, Emory’s record is now at 4-5.
Tuesday night, sophomore third baseman Christopher Stern amassed two singles, accounting for Emory’s only hits on the evening. Freshman pitcher Jack Moore put together a strong effort on the mound, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits, no walks and three strikeouts in five and a third innings.
Emory triumphed in the first half of the two-game series, topping the Bishops 7-5. Sophomore pitcher Richard Brereton started the game for the Eagles. After the Bishops blanked the Emory offense in the top of the first, Brereton gave up a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to give the Bishops a 1-0 lead.
Despite the solo blast, Brereton recovered and retired his next five batters. Emory struck back in the top of the third, grabbing a 3-1 lead. Stern put the Eagles on the scoreboard, bringing in a baserunner on an RBI double. Brereton tacked on two more runs with a base hit up the middle of the infield.
Emory maintained its 3-1 lead until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Bishops bounced back with a four-run inning.
The Bishops’ barrage began with a leadoff single. During the ensuing at-bat, the Wesleyan base-runner sophomore designated hitter Nick Beaver scurried to second base after a wild-pitch and advanced to third base after another single. Unable to work out of the jam, Brereton balked, advancing the third-base runner across home plate.
Matters only became worse for Brereton. His day came to an end after two runners crossed home plate due to a throwing error from senior shortstop Nick Chambers.
Freshman pitcher Jared Gaer came in relief of Brereton and cleaned up the mess, retiring all three batters he faced in the inning and giving up only one more run on a sacrifice fly.
Barring a tie ballgame, the first game of the double-header was scheduled to end in seven innings since the Wesleyan stadium has no lights and the two games had to finish before dark.
Headed into the top of the seventh inning, the Eagles were up against the wall, down two runs with one last chance to bat. Emory rallied, matching Wesleyan’s four-running inning with one of their own.
Stern, senior first baseman Bubby Terp and sophomore second baseman Ryan Adelman all drove in runs. Another Emory baserunner, Brereton, was brought home on a wild pitch.
Gaer kept the Bishops off the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh and locked in Emory’s 7-5 victory.
The Eagles met a different fate in the second game, falling to the Bishops 5-3.
Head Coach Mike Twardoski said that it was difficult for the team to play a double-header after an intense day of traveling and a closely contested first game.
“We traveled eight hours to play a doubleheader and the guys got tired by the second game,” Twardoski said. “In the first game we came out swinging well and our bats were great, but by the second game we didn’t have the same level of success.”
Senior pitcher Mack Wilkins started on the mound for Emory and lasted only two and two-thirds innings after giving up two runs on three hits and three walks. After Wilkins’s start, five other Emory pitchers contributed to getting the team through five and a third innings.
Increasing their margin to five, Wesleyan added one run in the fourth and two in the fifth. In the meantime, Wesleyan’s starting pitcher junior J.D. Makauskas completed seven shutout innings, giving up four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Twardoski said the team should have competed better against Makauskas and utilized a more effective gameplan.
“We should have hit better and had better gameplans at the plate in the second game,” Twardoski said. “[Makauskas] was a fine pitcher, but we could have easily hit him better than we did since nothing he did was overwhelming.”
The Eagles decreased the deficit in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs on three hits from Brereton, Stern and Terp.
Despite the three-run eighth inning, the Eagles could not to replicate that success in the top of the ninth and lost the game 5-3.
Twardoski said the team needs more contributions from the bottom of the batting order to complement the success of the leadoff hitters.
“Our players at the bottom of the order have to string some better at-bats together,” Twardoski said. “They’re swinging out of the strike right now, but they’re capable of putting some good at-bats together to bring us back to the start of the lineup.”
Sophomore pitcher Richard Brereton said although the Eagles have had a lackluster start, the team is gaining valuable time on the field.
“We’re improving every game and playing well as a team,” Brereton said. “We’re talented and young, we just need experience as the season goes on and we’ll keep improving.”
Terp, Stern and Brereton are Emory’s three most productive hitters thus far. Together they have accumulated more than half of the team’s RBIs. Stern leads the team with a .528 batting average and has tallied the most RBIs with 16.
The Eagles have a week off before they are scheduled to play Birmingham Southern College (Ala.) Feb. 28.
Associate Editor Brian Taggett is a pitcher on Emory’s baseball team.