Over spring break, the Emory baseball team pieced together a 4-1 record, their best so far this season. The team topped Berry College (Ga.), Stevens Institute of Technology (N.J.) and Middlebury College (Vt.), with its sole loss against Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.).
Playing for the first time in more than a week, the Eagles turned the tide against Berry on March 13, winning the game in walk-off fashion. Emory came up short in two prior meetings against Berry, losing 5-0 in their first match and 6-3 in their second.
Down 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles strung together a four-hit inning and tacked on two runs to take the game 6-5. Pinch-hitting for freshman left-fielder Jack Rubenstein, junior NJ Kim started the game knotted at five with a single that drove sophomore Ryan Adelman home.
Following Kim’s RBI single, freshman Michael Edelman, pinch-hitting for sophomore catcher Jacob Greene, smashed a walk-off single up the middle of the infield that brought home senior shortstop Nick Chambers. With Edelman’s walk off, Emory snapped a six-game losing streak that dated back to Feb.18.
Edelman said that his approach in his impressive at-bat was to ensure he was poised for a crucial plate appearance.
“I was preparing for the situation where [the game] was tied, and I’d have to come through for the team,” Edelman said. “When I actually did come up to the plate, I was calmer, and I read the pitcher well.”
Emory continued their late-inning heroics in a high-scoring game against Stevens. The Eagles scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Stevens 8-5. Leading Emory’s scoring, sophomore third-baseman Christopher Stern drove a three-run homerun over the leftfield wall to cap off Emory’s breakthrough inning.
Chambers contributed two hits and four RBIs in Emory’s eight-run effort. On the mound, junior pitcher Sam Brzowski secured Emory’s win, holding Stevens hitless in two and two-thirds innings.
In a weekend series against Middlebury, Emory’s bats lit up the Panthers, leading Emory to two consecutive 10-run games.
In their first match-up on March 17, Emory thrashed Middlebury 10-2.
The Eagles broke away in the seventh inning, scoring seven runs to build a 10-2 lead. Sophomore pitcher James Robertson solidified the Eagles’ victory, going five and one-third innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out four batters.
In their second game of the weekend on March 18, Emory held off Middlebury, edging a 10-7 victory. Chambers boasted another big afternoon, putting up two hits, including a double and four RBIs.
Over his past six games, Chambers amassed 13 hits and 12 RBIs. Chambers said the hard work he has put in during the season has helped him execute offensively.
“My beginning of the season wasn’t too strong, so I just stuck with the process,” Chambers said. “Having a process and not being results-oriented has allowed me to put together a hot streak.”
As designated hitter, Kim recorded two hits and a walk in three plate appearances. Together, the Emory offense belted 11 hits and walked 10 times.
Head Coach Mike Twardoski said that his team has improved its offensive production with proper execution of fundamentals.
“We are swinging at better pitches and are getting more aggressive in the strike zone,” Twardoski said. “We are starting to see more players driving the ball and seeing the ball better at the plate.”
Riding a four-game winning streak, Emory faltered against Birmingham-Southern on March 21. The Eagles’ starting pitcher, freshman Jack Moore, gave up eight runs in four and one-third innings pitched. Birmingham-Southern tacked on five more runs to defeat Emory 13-6.
Despite a rough day on the mound, Emory’s offense turned in a formidable performance. Junior Michael Wilson pinch hit for Stern in the bottom of the ninth and smacked an RBI triple into left field.
Chambers said the team’s young outfield and pitching staff is still working to hit their stride.
“[The staff have] a lot of potential to improve moving forward,” Chambers said. “Getting reps and games under their belt at the college level will help them become even more consistent.”
Despite allowing eight runs in the final three innings, Emory held off Covenant College 12-10 on March 27. Powering Emory’s offense, Chambers and Greene combined to add seven RBIs. In total, the Eagles recorded 10 hits and walked five times.
With conference play on the horizon, Twardoski said that the team overall has not played well enough in all facets of the game.
“We haven’t played good fundamental baseball so far this season,” Twardoski said. “We aren’t playing well enough running the bases, fielding, pitching and hitting.”
Emory’s game against Covenant concluded the Eagles’ non-conference portion of their schedule. The Eagles will begin University Athletic Association (UAA) play against Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Friday, March 30.
Associate Editor Brian Taggett is a pitcher on Emory’s baseball team.