Emory Baseball’s Offense, Pitching Thwart Covenant College in Weekend Series

The baseball team played a three-game series against the Covenant College Scots this weekend, beating them in 11 innings on Friday before splitting a double-header on Saturday. The Eagles’ record now stands at 21-10 on the year.

“We are still in a good position for the rest of the [season], but we need to understand the importance of closing out these games late in the year,” sophomore Jared Welch wrote in an email to the Wheel.

A RBI single from junior Daniel Iturrey, a RBI ground-out from senior Jay Page and a wild pitch in the first inning of Friday’s game gave Emory three early runs.

Emory starting pitcher Connor Dillman allowed runs in each of the first two innings to make the score to 3-2, but RBIs from sophomore Brandon Hannon and Welch in the fourth inning brought Emory’s tally to five.

The Eagles added on three more runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. A sixth-inning run from the Scots put the score at 9-3 entering the ninth. At that point, Covenant rallied to scored six runs, forcing the game to extra innings.

After a scoreless tenth inning, a single from Hannon and a double from Welch put runners on second and third for the Eagles in the eleventh inning. A sacrifice fly from senior Kevin O’Connor and a double from senior Jonathan Sholar gave the Eagles a 12-9 edge. Mike Bitanga closed out the game in the bottom of the inning to seal up the win.

“It says a lot about our team’s mental toughness that we were able to battle back and win after blowing the lead,” senior Paul Schwendel wrote in an email to the Wheel.

The Eagles won the first game Saturday on the strength of Schwendel’s complete game outing. He struck out nine, did not walk a single batter and only allowed two unearned runs.

“I felt good all game and was able to get ahead in counts and put batters away with my breaking ball,” Schwendel wrote.

Lake and Iturrey each picked up a pair of crucial hits, and Page connected for a two-run double to lead the offensive attack for the Eagles. The team first broke through with three runs in the third before adding three more in the seventh.

In the second game Saturday, the Eagles took the lead early. Through eight innings, a strong pitching performance from sophomore Ben Hinojosa and RBIs from Welch and Iturrey brought the score to 4-3. However, Covenant scored two in the ninth to take the lead. The Eagles failed to retaliate in the bottom half of the inning, and Covenant left with a victory.

“It is very hard to sweep a team, and they came ready to play,” senior Connor McGuiness wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I was proud of our team for keeping the energy up for the entire day. We just could not finish it out in the end.”

The Eagles next take the field Wednesday, facing Oglethorpe at Chappell Park at 3:00 p.m.

— Contact Bennett Ostdiek .

4/16/2012