The baseball team played a doubleheader against the Methodist University (N.C.) Monarchs Saturday, winning the first game by a score of 11-8 before losing the second game 11-7. After splitting the games, the team’s record now stands at 23-11 on the year.
“We went into the weekend expecting two wins,” sophomore catcher Jared Welch said. “We can play with anybody — it’s just a matter of playing consistently at our best potential.”
Senior Paul Schwendel started the game for the Eagles. He struck out 13 Monarchs, setting a personal career-high and tying freshman Connor Dillman for the most strikeouts by an Emory pitcher this season.
“It was a Big South region game against a good opposing pitcher, so it felt good to get the win,” Schwendel wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Schwendel threw eight innings, allowing five runs, seven hits and three walks. He earned the win to improve his record to 5-3 for the year.
“I felt really good out there and was executing my pitches pretty well,” Schwendel wrote. “Unfortunately they were able to find some holes and put up some runs late in the game, but that is baseball.”
The Eagles started the scoring for the day early, putting three runs on the scoreboard in the first inning. With freshman Brett Lake on second base and Welch on first base, junior Daniel Iturrey singled to score Lake. Senior Jay Page then singled to score Welch, and freshman Wes Peacock singled to score Page.
The Eagles added two more runs in the third. Welch reached third base off a double and a wild pitch and then scored on a groundout by Page.
Iturrey, who had reached base on a walk, advanced to second on Page’s groundout and stolen third base, then scored off a sacrifice fly from senior Kevin O’Connor.
Methodist finally scored in the bottom of the third inning, getting one run across the plate, and added two more in the bottom of the fourth. Emory scored a run in the top of the fourth, and the score stood at 6-3 until the top of the sixth inning, when the Eagles’ bats erupted.
With one out in the inning, junior second baseman Mark Lindemann singled and advanced to second after Lake walked. A throwing error allowed Lindemann to score, with Hannon reaching base and Lake advancing to second.
Welch then singled, scoring Lake. Iturrey drove in sophomore Brandon Hannon and Welch, concluding the scoring for the inning.
Page connected for an RBI triple with two outs in the eighth inning, bringing the Eagles’ tally to 11 and ending their scoring for the game.
The Monarchs would score two in the eighth and three more in the ninth, but never mounted a serious comeback threat.
Sophomore Ben Hinojosa started the second game for the Eagles. He took the loss, and his record dropped to 4-3 on the year.
Methodist took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Eagles tied the game up in the third inning and moved ahead 3-2 in the fifth. However, the lead would be short-lived. Methodist scored eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined, putting the game out of reach for the Eagles.
The downfall for Emory was their defense, and the fielders made three errors in those two innings.
“If we make routine plays, we win that ball game,” Welch said. “We made a few costly errors.”
Welch went 1-2, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Other offensive leaders for the Eagles were Iturrey and O’Connor, each connecting for two hits in the game.
“Losing the second [game] hurts, so we need to find a way to maintain our concentration and intensity throughout games the rest of the way,” Schwendel wrote.
The Eagles next take the field Wednesday night, when they travel to LaGrange College.
“From here on out, every game is a must-win,” Welch said. “There is no reason we should lose any of our remaining games. We need to go undefeated from here on out.”
— Contact Bennett Ostdiek