#22 Emory Defeats #13 Shenandoah and Bridgewater to Force Deciding Game on Sunday
After burning the midnight oil with a late victory over Rhodes College last night to stay alive at the 2014 NCAA Division III Baseball Championships, the 22nd-ranked Emory University Baseball team won two more games in a 24-hour stretch, defeating 13th-ranked Shenandoah University 12-8 in the early game on Saturday, and handing Bridgewater College a 11-3 loss in the late one to force a regional-deciding game on Sunday.
The Eagles, seeded second in the will take on Bridgewater again on Sunday afternoon with the winner advancing to the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin from May 23rd – 27th. Emory has previously made World Series appearances during the 2000, 2003 and 2007 seasons, finishing as high as second in 2007.
The time of the game will be decided early on Sunday morning, as rain is anticipated in the Demorest area throughout the day.
Emory junior Brett Lake finished the day a combined four-for-eight with five runs batted in, breaking the school single-season RBI record in the process. His 64 runs batted in this year broke the previous program-best mark of 63, set by former Eagle Ted Karniewicz during the 2000 campaign.
With the two wins, Emory improved to 33-11 for the season.
Game 1 - Emory 12, Shenandoah 8
Emory scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning, and survived a late rally by Shenandoah by scoring another four runs in the bottom of the eighth, as the Eagles eliminated the Hornets from the NCAA Division III Championships with a 12-8 win.
Emory's offense collected 19 hits in the game, including two doubles and a triple, walked five times and stole five bases.
For the first time at this year's NCAA Championships, the Eagles jumped out to a lead in a game, and did so in a big way, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs on eight hits. Included in Emory's first-inning offensive outburst was a bases-loaded triple from senior catcher Jared Welch that plated three runs, and a pair of hits, including a two-RBI single, from Lake.
Shenandoah, which featured one of the top offenses in the country, would not go away quietly. Reliever Andrew Zarobila shut down the Eagles until the bottom of the eighth, as the Hornets chipped away with a run off Emory senior starter Ben Hinojosa in the third, and two each in the fifth and sixth, cutting the Eagles' lead to 8-5. The Hornets scored two more in the top of the eighth and loaded the bases with one out against senior reliever Matt McMahon, but freshman Kyle Monk, pitching in his fourth game of the tournament, recorded a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the jam, and preserve a one-run Emory lead.
The Eagles' bats woke up again in the bottom of the eighth, scoring runs on a wild pitch and RBI singles from senior left fielder Daniel Iturrey, junior first baseman Jordan Selbach and freshman third baseman Philip Maldari. Shenandoah scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth, but Monk would shut the door to earn his fourth save of the season, three of which have come during tournament play.
Hinojosa earned the win to improve to 4-2 on the season, scattering 11 hits and allowing five runs, just three of which were earned. Lake and Welch each collected three RBIs in the game, while six Eagles had multiple-hit games, including a four-for-five effort from Maldari.
Hornets' starter Phillip Morse took the loss, allowing seven earned runs in a third of an inning of work. Shenandoah's season came to a close with a 33-11 record.
Game 2 – Emory 11, Bridgewater 3
Emory amassed another strong offensive performance during its second game of the day, collecting another 14 hits and scoring 11 runs, en route to the 11-3 win over Bridgewater. The victory avenged a loss earlier in the tournament, when Emory dropped a 7-4 decision to the Eagles on Friday.
With their tournament life once again on the line, the Eagles scored in the first inning again, as the first three Eagles each reached on a base hit, including an RBI single from Lake, tying the program's single-season RBI record.
Emory broke the game open with a five-run top of the third, extending the squad's advantage to 6-0. Iturrey started the scoring for Emory with a single that scored a pair of runs, and Welch followed shortly after with a two-RBI triple. Selbach capped off the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Welch.
After Bridgewater scored a run in the fourth to cut Emory's lead to 6-1, he Eagles scored four in the top of the fifth, including RBI hits from Hannon and Lake. Bridgewater scored again in the sixth, but Emory countered with a run on an Iturrey single in the eighth, and held on for the 11-3 victory after allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth.
Meanwhile, Emory starting pitcher Paul Merolla, making his first appearance since March 30th, was spectacular on the mound for the Eagles. He improved to 3-1 on the season with seven innings of work, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. Seniors Robert Gross and Mike Bitanga closed out the winning effort with an inning apiece out of the bullpen.
Iturrey was three-for-four in the game with two RBIs, while Welch, Hannon and junior centerfielder Wes Peacock each went two-for-five. Lake added a two-for-three game with two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks.
Bridgewater fell to 3-1 at the regionals, and dropped to 36-13 overall. Starting pitcher Corey Armentrout, who was pitching on two days rest after throwing 46 pitches during a rain-shortened outing against Birmingham-Southern on Wednesday, took the loss to fall to 6-4.
Check back at EmoryAthletics.com on Sunday morning for more information on the game time for Sunday's regional-deciding contest, as it is made available.