LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee baseball team scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the comeback attempt came up just short as Eastern Mennonite prevailed, 6-5, on Wednesday in ODAC action.
Trailing by a 6-3 score entering the final frame, the Generals (8-7, 2-3 ODAC) loaded the bases with one out, bringing senior first baseman Zach Loewenberg (Baltimore, Md./Friends School of Md.) to the plate. Loewenberg looped a single into shallow left field, scoring first-year second baseman Jackson Gazin (Resiterstown, Md./The Boys' Latin School of Md.) from third, to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Junior designated hitter Bryce Burnette (Hurt, Va./Gretna) followed with a single to right field, allowing senior left fielder Matthew Jones (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin) to score from third. But Eastern Mennonite (7-9-1, 1-2 ODAC) senior right fielder Daniel Scott fielded the ball, and fired home to nab senior Ben Decembrino (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) at the plate to preserve the lead.
Junior John Judy, who started the game as the catcher but pitched the ninth inning as the Royals' closer, forced a ground out in the following at bat to end the game and end the Generals' threat of a comeback win.
The Royals' trailed, 2-1 entering the top of the sixth inning, but broke through on the scoreboard, scoring four runs on four hits. Senior first baseman Zach Roberts, junior center fielder Jaylon Lee and sophomore designated hitter Corey Willis all had RBI singles in the frame, while Judy drove in a run on a ground out to put the Royals up 5-2. The final EMU run was scored in the top of the seventh when a hit and a W&L error allowed first-year left fielder Jordan Jones to score.
The Generals struck first in the game with two runs in the bottom of the second on a two-run double down the right-field line off the bat of senior shortstop Chadwick Feeley (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal School). W&L added a run in the bottom of the seventh, when Jones singled through the left side of the infield, cutting the EMU lead to 6-3.
Jones and Gazin both logged 3-for-4 days at the plate for W&L, with all six of their hits going as singles. Jones finished with an RBI and a run, while Gazin scored twice. Loewenberg also tallied a multi-hit game for the Blue and White, going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Junior righty Jackson Thigpen (Potomac, Md./St. John's College) got the start and earned a no decision after tossing 5.0 innings and allowing just one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Thigpen was also perfect through three innings, allowing his first baserunner to lead off the top of the fourth.
Junior reliever Kenneth Hartzfeld (Marietta, Ga./Westminster School) (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on four hits with a walk in one inning in relief of Thigpen. Seniors Kevin McHugh (Forest Hill, Md./McDonogh School) and Andrew Earvolino (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier), sophomore Chase Fleming (Pennington, N.J./Princeton Day School) and senior Tom Kellogg (San Antonio, Texas/Saint Mary's Hall) combined to cover the final three innings for the Generals, allowing one unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts.
Jones and Willis notched 2-for-4 efforts at the plate for the Royals, each scoring once, with Willis driving in a run and stealing two bases. In all, five different EMU batters drove in one run, while six different players scored once each.
First-year right-hander Connor Lutz (1-0) earned his first-career win after going 6.0 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Senior lefty Riley Wesp relieved Lutz, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing one hit and a walk with two strikeouts, while Judy picked up his second save of the season, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits in the ninth.
The Generals will return to action when they close their six-game home stand with an ODAC doubleheader against Roanoke on Saturday at Cap'n Dick Smith Field. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 12:00 pm.