The baseball team played three games against the Hendrix College Warriors (Ark.) this weekend, losing the first game of a double-header Saturday by a score of 2-1. The Eagles went on to win the second game 11-4, and won the third game of the series 8-1 on Sunday. The Eagles’ record now stands at 15-13 on the season.
“I thought we did a really good job coming out and taking two out of three,” junior left fielder Daniel Iturrey said. “We just need to maintain the consistency – keep hitting and keep pitching, and everything else will fall into place. Everyone has been doing their jobs, and that’s what we need to keep doping.”
In the first Saturday game, the Eagles and Warriors played scoreless baseball for the first two innings. The Eagles took the lead in the third, however, behind the efforts of junior shortstop Jared Kahn. Kahn singled and stole second then scored on a single from junior catcher Jared Welch. The hit was the 100th of Welch’s career.
The Eagles entered the fourth inning carrying a 1-0 lead. Freshmen Tyler Sprague was pitching for the Eagles, and with one out in the inning, he allowed three consecutive singles, and the Warriors tied up the game.
Sprague went on to pitch through the fifth inning and allowed just one run and seven hits while recording a no-decision. He was relieved by junior Matt McMahon.
The score remained knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the eighth inning. Hendrix loaded the bases with two walks and a single, and then McMahon allowed another walk to bring home the winning run.
McMahon took the loss and fell to 2-3 on the year. However, he only allowed one hit over his three innings on the mound.
Freshman Paul Merolla started the second game for the Eagles. He allowed Hendrix to take an early 2-0 lead, with a hit-by-pitch, a walk and two singles putting them on the board in the first inning.
The Eagles responded in the second inning. Iturrey doubled, advanced to third base on a passed ball and scored on a groundout by sophomore centerfielder Wes Peacock. The Eagles now trailed by a score of 2-1.
Emory took the lead the next inning. Junior third baseman Ryan Toscano singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Khan then ripped a triple, driving in Toscano.
Junior right fielder Brandon Hannon singled, driving in Khan. A single from Welch, a wild pitch and an Iturrey groundout then brought home Hannon and gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead.
The Eagles added on a run in the fourth inning, when sophomore designated hitter Chris Brown singled, then moved around the bases on a wild pitch, balk and sacrifice fly.
Emory then scored two more in the fifth. A double and a hit-by-pitch put Hannon on first and Khan on second, and the two executed a double-steal to advance to second and third. Welch hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Khan, then a double by Iturrey drove in Hannon.
The Eagles went on to tack on three more runs in the sixth inning and one more in the seventh, eventually winning by a score of 11-4. Khan led the offensive outburst, going three for four with a double, two triples, three RBIs and three runs scored.
Iturrey chipped in two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored, and Hannon also drove in a pair of runners.
“Offensively, we tore it up,” Iturrey said. “Jared Kahn went crazy; he is a warrior-killer. He led our offense this weekend, and everybody else did their job.”
Merolla picked up the win for the Eagles. He allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings and improved his record to 3-1.
Junior Robert Gross and sophomore Michael Byman each pitched a scoreless relief inning to close out the game.
“Our pitchers really held their own,” Iturrey said. “They threw a lot of strikes and got deep into the game. They kept Hendrix down in runs so the offense could keep scoring and help us win games. Our relief pitchers did their job really well and kept runs of the board for the most part.”
The Eagles took the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon, winning by a score of 8-1 behind the pitching of Dylan Finer and the offense of Iturrey.
Finer allowed just one unearned run in five innings on the mound and improved his record to 2-0 on the year and his ERA to 2.84. Junior Robert Gross and sophomore Graham Bloomsmith contributed two scoreless innings of relief.
Iturrey went two for four in the batter’s box, including a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.
The Eagles took the lead in the first inning. Kahn singled, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, stole second and scored off a single from Welch.
Hendrix tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but the Eagles took the lead for good in the fourth inning. They scored three runs, behind two walks, two wild pitches, a sacrifice fly, an error and a single.
From that point forward, the game was never close. The Eagles added on two runs in the seventh inning and two more in the ninth to close out the 8-1 victory.
The Eagles offense and pitching staffs both performed terrifically over this three-game series. The Eagles scored 20 runs over the three games, while allowing only seven.
The Eagles next take the field tonight, when they travel to Berry College (Ga.).
“At this point, we need to win every game,” Iturrey said. “Berry is going to be really important to continue this streak. The next game is always the most important one, because at the end of the day, we will need all of the wins possible to make that playoff push.”
– By Bennett Ostdiek
Photo by Christine Hines