EMU senior Kyle Mathews (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) hit two more homeruns, and his teammates got hits in bunches. In the end, however, EMU's pitching staff couldn't slow down Shenandoah in a 17-10 loss in Winchester, Va., on Wednesday.
The Hornets, ranked No. 1 in the D3baseball.com nation poll, put together 21 hits and scored in all but one of their at-bats.
The Royals, 17-17 overall and 4-11 in the ODAC, sit only 2.5 games behind sixth place Roanoke (21-12/6-8 ODAC) in the league standings. With just five games left in the season, the men need a pair of wins Saturday at Hampden-Sydney (18-15/7-8 ODAC) to keep their hopes alive for a spot in the six-team ODAC Tournament.
EMU also plays at Bridgewater next week before ending the season with a doubleheader at Lynchburg next Saturday.
Mathews carried the big stick once again, hitting two homeruns for the second straight game. His leadoff shot to left center tied the game at 1-1 in the second, before Shenandoah plated five runs in the bottom of the frame and chased starter Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River).
Trailing 7-1 in the fourth, Mathews struck again. The leftfielder launched a two-run bomb to left center, and the rest of the Royals jumped in this time. David Meehan (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) restarted the rally with a walk and Kyle Salladay (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) smacked an RBI double. After a pitching change, the men kept coming with two outs. Joe Hall (Gladys, Va./Rustburg) and Zach Roberts (Stuarts Draft, Va./Riverheads) each stuck RBI singles as EMU scored five times to get within one, 7-6.
The Hornets chipped in runs to push the margin back up to 10-6 before exploding for five runs, including a three-run homer, in the seventh to put the game out of reach at 15-6.
Eastern Mennonite used an SU error in the eighth for a two-out rally. Joe Hall and Roberts again had run-scoring hits, this time each drove in two, as the men scored four runs.
Shenandoah added two in the bottom of the eighth and sent the Royals down in order in the ninth.
Mathews hit his fourth and fifth homeruns, taking over the team lead and jumping into a tie for third in the ODAC. All five of his longballs have come over the past four games, including two on Monday against Southern Virginia.
Bailey Hall gave up eight runs in 1.1 innings and fell to 1-3 with the loss. Every EMU pitcher who faced more than one batter gave up at least two runs.