It was a slugfest on the diamond between (24-12) and Oglethorpe University (16-15) Tuesday, but in the latter stages, it came down to pitching, and Emory’s staff prevailed as the Eagles won 13-9.
“The kids put together some runs after they scored some runs on us,” Emory head coach Mike Twardoski said. “We were able to come back each time. They did a great job.”
The Eagles spotted junior right-hander Paul Schwendel a four-run lead in the third, highlighted by senior outfielder Patrick Riebsame’s three-run blast. However, that wouldn’t last long as both squads duked it out through the middle innings.
Reibsame’s home run was his seventh of the season, a team high, and his second in as many games. The right fielder and O’Connor paced the Eagles’ offensive effort, going one-for-four and two-for-four respectively, each with three RBI.
Emory’s four runs, all earned, forced Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano to remove his pitcher, freshman T.J. Schmutz, in just his second start of the season.
“He’s also our backup shortstop,” Giordano said. “He’s a freshman and threw strikes for the most part. Ran into some trouble, hung one up there and it got hit out.”
However, Oglethorpe chipped away at the lead in the third when it used two hit batters and three walks to generate two runs.
The Eagles produced another run in the fourth off the Petrel’s second pitcher, Spencer Kennedy, but Oglethorpe responded after Brendan Pilger belted his eighth home run to right to draw within a run.
Pilger’s shot was the 18th of his career, which ties a school record for home runs. He also ties the mark for the most in a single season.
“He had been pressing a little,” Giordano said. “All he gets is curves and changeups. He hasn’t seen a fastball in weeks. He got one and he sent. He was excited and you could see his next couple of at bats all he saw were breaking balls.”
The Petrels kept the momentum alive scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth. This all came after allowing Emory to score four in the top half of the inning. The second big inning in a row by Oglethorpe chased Schwendel from the game.
“I think what happens was he got into a few innings where he threw too many pitches, got a little tired and got the ball up,” said Twardoski. “He had some good innings too. I was trying to get him the win, but he just couldn’t get out of the fifth inning to get him the win. He’s been great for us all year, but he just had a game that he got a little tired. We wouldn’t have let him go as much, but he is a big kid and he does rebound a little bit quicker than some other guys.”
Schwendel’s day ended with four-and-two-thirds innings pitched with nine runs (eight earned) and four strikeouts.
Oglethorpe couldn’t keep the momentum in their favor as Emory plated two more in the sixth.
One of Emory’s top closers, Mike McMahon, came in relief of Schwendel and quieted Oglethorpe’s bats. The freshman reliever went the distance, allowing only two hits, no runs and fanned three to earn the win.
“We have a closer by committee and he’s one of them,” Twardoski said. “He pitched fantastic for us tonight.”
Oglethorpe’s Jonathan Joseph’s two earned runs in his lone inning, the tie-breaking sixth, earned him the loss.
Emory hopes to continue its hot play and extend its winning streak to four when it hosts Sewanee Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.