Emory baseball delivered a statement win Tuesday night with a 13-1 demolition of Atlanta rival Oglethorpe University. The offensive explosion came on the heels of a lackluster 2-3 start to the season.
Prior to their meeting with Oglethorpe, Emory split a two-game series on the road against the Covenant College (Ga.) Scots, Feb. 9. Through the team’s first five games, the Eagles allowed a total of 36 runs. In comparison, the Eagles began their 2017 campaign 5-0 with only 15 runs allowed.
In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Scots dominated in a commanding 8-3 victory. Covenant jumped ahead early with two runs on four hits and an error against Emory’s starting pitcher, sophomore Richard Brereton, in the first inning.
Covenant added one more run in the bottom of the second, establishing a 3-0 lead. Despite giving up three runs in the first two innings, Brereton found his stride on the mound in the third and fourth innings, striking out two Scots in each.
Emory reduced the deficit in the top of the fourth after sophomore third baseman Christopher Stern’s two run triple found the gap between the center and right fielders.
Breathing down the necks of the Scots with the score at 3-2, the Eagles quickly lost momentum in the bottom of the fifth when Covenant extended the lead by four runs. Brereton started the inning on the mound but was quickly sent to the bench after a Covenant two-run home run with no outs. In relief, freshman pitcher Jared Gaer allowed two more runs, one unearned.
Down five, Emory was unable to stage a comeback. Both teams scored one more run as the Scots coasted to an 8-3 win, their first on the season.
Head Coach Mike Twardoski said that the team struggled to limit bad innings and string together effective at-bats in the first game.
“[In] the first game, we gave up too many hits in a row and they scored multiple runs in two different innings,” Twardoski said. “We got single hits in the first and therefore weren’t able to drive too many players home.”
The Eagles turned the tables on the Scots in the second half of the back-to-back, claiming a 10-4 victory.
Much like the first game, the Eagles found themselves playing from behind early. Covenant pounced on Emory in the first, scoring four runs on five hits and an error. Emory’s starting pitcher, senior Rhett Stuart, saw his day come to an early close after the ugly first inning.
Entering the game in the second inning, freshman pitcher Christian Bradley salvaged the game for the Eagles. In his three innings of work, Bradley kept Covenant hitless and struck out three batters. Bradley gave credit to his defense and cited a number of situations when they backed him up on the mound.
“Brereton in centerfield made an amazing play to take away a potential double,” Bradley said. “First baseman [senior] Bubby Terp was in the right place at the right time when Covenant hit a hard line drive at him.”
Offensively, the Eagles hit their stride in the fourth and fifth innings. Stern scored from third base on a ground out and freshman left fielder Jack Rubenstein scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, trimming the lead to 4-2.
Twardoski said that Stern has been one of Emory’s “hottest players” thus far, carrying a .632 batting average with a home run in his first five games.
In the fifth, the Eagles blasted Covenant with a six-run breakout inning. Senior shortstop Nick Chambers initiated the scoring after launching a double into left, bringing home an Emory baserunner. Brereton (playing centerfield in game two) delivered the biggest at-bat of the afternoon, driving in three Eagles off a double into centerfield.
Emory didn’t look back after they built an 8-4 lead in the top of the fifth, holding Covenant scoreless and adding two more runs of their own in the final two innings.
Emory’s pitching improved after they allowed five hits in the first. Bradley, along with relief pitchers sophomore Michael Leeder and junior Charlie Redovian, held Covenant hitless for six consecutive innings.
Bradley said that many of the team’s early struggles were due to inexperience and an injury to the team’s “ace,” junior pitcher Billy Dimlow.
“Dimlow is out indefinitely with elbow issues,” Bradley said. “We have lost so many pitchers from last year, so we’re a very young staff that is inexperienced, but also has a lot of potential.”
Twardoski emphasized the team’s lack of consistency early in the season.
“Whenever I analyze the players on this team, it’s obvious that we have a lot of talent,” Twardoski said. “We have to be a lot more consistent considering we haven’t started off the season the way we wanted to.”
The performance against Oglethorpe was unquestionably a step in the right direction, with the Eagles pounding in nine runs in the first inning alone.
The Eagles’ Feb. 10 game against Covenant College was postponed due to inclement weather. Emory will travel to Rocky Mount, N.C. for a series against North Carolina Wesleyan College Feb. 17.
Associate Editor Brian Taggett is a pitcher on Emory’s baseball team.