The baseball team earned a pair of tough home wins over the week, beating Oglethorpe University 6-5 in an extra-inning thriller on Tuesday and following it with a 9-2 blowout of Maryville College (Tenn.) on Wednesday. The Eagles have won three games in a row and now stand at 19-14 on the season. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Connor Dillman got the start for the Eagles against Oglethorpe and had an impressive outing, scattering three hits and two earned runs over seven innings of work. Dillman struck out nine batters and walked five.
It was a back-and-forth contest that culminated in extra innings when sophomore Brett Lake came off the bench to pinch hit with the bases loaded. Lake delivered, singling to left and driving in junior left fielder Daniel Iturrey for the winning run.
Iturrey started the scoring for the Eagles as well, singling in his first at-bat to give the team a one-out base runner in the bottom of the second inning. Iturrey was forced out when freshman designated hitter Chris Slivka hit into a fielder’s choice, but Slivka did the rest of the work for the inning, advancing on a balk and then scoring the game’s first run on an Oglethorpe error.
The Eagles increased their lead in the third when junior catcher Josh Bokor led off with a single and advanced to second on a single from sophomore center fielder Wes Peacock. Bokor scored on a double from junior right fielder Brandon Hannon. Junior shortstop Jared Kahn continued the offensive assault with a single to left that scored both Peacock and Hannon. Junior catcher Jared Welch followed with a walk, advancing to second on a wild pitch and scoring on another Iturrey single, giving the Eagles a 5-0 advantage.
Dillman, meanwhile, was near untouchable through the game’s opening innings, allowing just one hit over the first six frames. The righty essentially shut Oglethorpe down until the top of the eighth inning, when the Stormy Petrels scored a run.
The eighth was a rough inning for the Eagles, who surrendered a pair of hits, a pair of walks and a pair of errors all while using three different pitchers — Dillman, junior right-hander Robert Gross and sophomore right-hander Graham Bloomsmith. Ultimately, Oglethorpe was able to knot the score at five runs apiece before Bloomsmith forced a double play to end the threat and the inning.
A scoreless ninth inning followed before the game entered the decisive 10th. Bloomsmith continued to shut down the Petrels, retiring their lineup in order in the top of the inning before Iturrey’s one-out single and Lake’s double that gave the Eagles the 6-5 victory. Lake was the hero of the day, but there were many standout performers: Iturrey, apart from scoring the winning run, had three hits on the day, and Bloomsmith earned the win with two and two-thirds innings of no-hit ball.
Emory did not allow nearly as much drama in Wednesday’s game. The Eagles jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a couple of RBI singles from Slivka and freshman first baseman Ben Vizvary. Eagles pitcher Matt McMahon, meanwhile, did a fine job in shutting the Maryville lineup, going five innings deep and surrendering just two runs on five hits.
Slivka and Vizvary gave their pitcher more of a cushion in the bottom of the fourth inning, leading off with two consecutive singles after Maryville had cut the lead to 3-1. Sophomore third baseman Warren Kamber loaded the bases with another single, allowing Slivka to score in the next at-bat on a wild pitch.
Maryville once again answered with a run off McMahon to cut the margin to 4-2, but the Eagles again responded. Welch led off the inning with a walk and got himself in scoring position after stealing second. Vizvary, again, took full advantage with an RBI double to knock him in and make the score 5-2 in the Eagles’ favor.
Emory finally began to pull away in the bottom of the seventh inning, adding a pair of runs on a pair of leadoff walks from Iturrey and Slivka. Vizvary got on base once again to load the bases after being hit by a pitch. Iturrey and Slivka would score on a walk and a fielder’s choice.
The Eagles tacked on a couple more runs in the bottom of the eighth, giving Gross a comfortable 9-2 margin to work with in the ninth inning. He did not need it, breezing through the inning without surrendering a run. McMahon picked up the victory and evened his season record at 3-3. Vizvary and Slivka both had big nights from the plate, with the former going three-for-three with two RBIs while the latter scored three runs.
The Eagles next face NCAA Tournament-bound Methodist University (N.C.). The teams will play a pair of games, the first on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the second on Sunday at 1 p.m., both at the Eagles’ home field of Chappell Park.
— By Ryan Smith
Photo by Lauren Arsenault