HARRISONBURG, VA --- Playing in their final home game, EMU's senior class was determined to go out with a win. The seniors either scored or drove in each of the Royals' runs in a 9-5 win over Southern Virginia Monday in Harrisonburg.
Eastern Mennonite won four of the five games in their final homestand of 2017. At 17-16 (4-10 ODAC), the Royals end the year with six straight road games, including Wednesday at No. 1 Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.
The visiting Knights (12-28) got on the scoreboard first, benefitting from a leadoff triple from Ryan Saunders. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.
Eastern Mennonite took off in the second, starting a string of three straight innings of scoring. After a leadoff fielding error put a runner on, Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) sent a drive to left center, for a quick 2-1 lead.
Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) got a two-out RBI single in the third, before another three-hit rally in the fourth. David Meehan (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) ripped an RBI double and took third on an errant throw in from the outfield. Dean Lowery (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) brought him in with a roller up the middle, bumping the margin to 5-1.
Saunders accounted for another run for SVU with a two-out single in the sixth, but Mathews got it right back with a leadoff bomb over the scoreboard in left field.
The top of the order produced in the seventh, with Griffin Stanley (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) drawing a leadoff walk, going from first to third on a stolen base/wild pitch combo, and scoring on a single from Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads).
The Royals made it 9-2 in the eighth thanks to a two-out fielding error by the Knights. Stanley found the gap in right center for an RBI triple, and was followed by a Joe Hall (Gladys, Va./Rustburg) double down the right field line.
Southern Virginia combined a handful of soft hits together for a rally in the ninth, scoring three before Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) coaxed a game-ending grounder.
EMU out-hit the Knights 14-10 in a game that was not as close as the final score. SVU got four of their hits in the ninth.
Mathews carried the biggest stick, hitting 3-4 with three runs and three RBIs. His two homeruns on the day gave the senior three in his last three games, after he hit his first of the year in Saturday's 6-5 win over Randolph-Macon.
Roberts added three singles while Stanley figured into three runs, finishing with one hit and one walk. Lowery and Frazier each had a pair of singles.
Coach Ben Spotts said this year's senior class bought into him as a new head coach and have changed the culture of the EMU program: