The Royals had their offense in high gear Friday afternoon, knocking off rival Bridgewater College 9-5 in baseball action in Harrisonburg. EMU scored in six of their eight at-bats and snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Eagles with the decision.
They close the season Saturday with a doubleheader at Roanoke. With one win in the two games, the Royals (19-18) would clinch a final record above .500 as well just their third 20-win season in program history.
Adam Posey (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson), who triggered the offense against Bridgewater all day, led off EMU's half of the first with a heads-up triple to left center. He came in on a two-out single from Kyle Armstrong (Greenville, Va./Riverheads) to make it 1-0.
The Eagles got to Posey on the hill in the third, starting with a two-out walk. An infield single and a fielding error brought in one run, and another infield hit scored a second unearned run for a 2-1 BC lead.
But the Royals were undeterred. Posey hit a one-out infield single in the bottom of the frame, stole second, and then scored on a two-out hit from Jonathan Estrada (Miami, Fla./Doral Academy). The two-out tallies continued in the fourth. Ryan Hedrick (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led off with a double and then gave EMU a 3-2 lead when he came in on a two-out error.
EMU pushed the edge to 5-2 with their third straight scoring inning in the fifth. Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) and Hedrick hit back-to-back RBI singles with one away, but a line drive double play ended the rally.
Bridgewater put together three hits in the sixth to plate two more runs and get back within one at 5-4, but the Royals made noise again. With two away, the men touched up BC's reliever for five straight hits. The rally only ended when a runner was thrown out at home after a single. When the dust settled, EMU had re-established control of the game with an 8-4 lead.
Brandon Carroll (Fredericksburg, Va./Stafford) rocked his first homerun of the year to left field in the seventh to push the edge to five. Closer Kyle Salladay (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) replaced Posey on the hill in the eighth, and allowed a single unearned run in the ninth for the final 9-5 decision.
The top of Eastern Mennonite's batting order did most of the damage, as the first six batters had 15 of their 16 hits. The 1-2-3 hitters, seniors Posey, Ryan McAlister (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) and Estrada, combined to bat 9-for-15 with six runs and three RBIs. Posey finished 4-5 with three runs. Estrada was 3-5 with two runs and two RBIs while McAlister was 2-5 with a run and an RBI.
Posey pitched seven strong innings, allowing just six hits and two earned runs in what is likely his final collegiate appearance. He struck out four Eagles and improved to 4-4 on the year. Salladay didn't qualify for a save, but allowed only the unearned run in two innings.
With Coach Ben Spotts in the second season of his rebuilding project at Eastern Mennonite University, the win over the ODAC's perennial powerhouse was a significant statement. It was the first EMU win against Bridgewater since a 3-0 decision on the road on April 11, 2006, and a great send-off for the senior in their final home game.
The Royals, 5-13 in the conference, look to improve their three-game winning streak with the season-ending twinbill at Roanoke tomorrow. First pitch is at noon.