Generals shocked by Royals after late rally

Bryce Burnette

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Washington and Lee baseball team fell to Eastern Mennonite, 7-5, on Wednesday after the Royals scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Trailing by a 5-0 score, the Royals (8-11-1, 2-4 ODAC) scratched across their first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from sophomore left fielder Corey Willis. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, sophomore third baseman Billy Quinn singled to drive in another run, before the Royals' third run of the inning came across on a wild pitch. 

Two batters later with the bases loaded, sophomore shortstop Brett Lindsay doubled to left-center field, clearing the bases and giving EMU its first lead of the game, 6-5. The seven-run frame was capped off with an RBI single to center off the bat of sophomore center fielder Jaylon Lee.

The Generals (8-10, 2-6 ODAC) broke through first on the scoreboard when senior first baseman Zach Loewenberg (Baltimore, Md./Friends School of Baltimore) doubled to left center to bring in two runs. Junior catcher Bryce Burnette (Hurt, Va./Gretna) then singled through the left side to bring home another run, giving W&L a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the seventh, senior left fielder Matthew Jones (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin) singled to score senior second baseman Ben Decembrino (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep), before another run-scoring knock from Loewenberg put the Generals up 5-0.

Loewenberg led the way for the Generals' offense with a 2-for-4 day at the plate, driving in three runs, to go along with a walk. Burnette finished with a couple of hits as well, while senior shortstop Chadwick Feeley (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal School) went 2-for-4 with a walk. Feeley is now just two hits away from tying Jonathan Stutts '13 for the most hits in W&L baseball history (189).

Burnette also had a solid game behind the plate, catching one Royal baserunner stealing, while throwing out another two trying to advance on pitches in the dirt.

Junior right-hander Jackson Thigpen (Potomac, Md./St. John's College) got a no decision as the starter for the Blue and White, tossing 3.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks with a strikeout. Senior lefty Andrew Earvolino (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) relieved Thigpen with one out in the fourth, with the bases loaded, and got out of the jam after getting a fly out and a strikeout.

W&L then sent four pitchers to the mound over the final four innings, but the Royals tagged the quartet for seven erned runs on six hits and five walks. Sophomore lefty Chase Fleming (Pennington, N.J./Princeton Day School) (2-1) suffered the loss, giving up three runs on three hits in 0.1 inning during the eighth.

Willis, Lee and Lindsay all recorded two-hit days for the Royals, with Lindsay driving in three runs and scoring once, while Lee and Willis both drove in one run apiece.

First-year Connor Lutz earned a no decision as the EMU starting pitcher, allowing three unearned runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Senior Ethan Mathews (2-0) was the winning pitcher, tossing 1.2 shutout innings, while giving up no hits with a walk and a strikeout.

The Generals will be back in action on Friday when they host Trinity (Conn.) in a 4:00 pm non-conference matchup.