Baseball team falls in series to No. 4 Clemson

Robert Wendzicki, above, allowed no runs in four straight innings during a game Saturday against Clemson.

The Eastern Michigan University baseball team lost two of three games in a season-opening series against fourth-ranked Clemson.

The Tigers took Sunday’s game at Doug Kinsmore Stadium 5-1.

Starter Kevin Brady (1-0) baffled the Eagles for most of the day throwing 5 1/3 innings and getting 10 strikeouts while allowing two hits, one earned run and a walk.

“He was throwing in the mid-90s with his fastball, and his secondary stuff worked,” Eagles coach Jay Alexander said of Brady. “He was on his game, he was dominating.”

Outfielder Chris Epps hit a two-run home run in the third setting the pace for Clemson. Third basemen John Hinson went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

The only Eagles’ extra-base hit came from sophomore outfielder Daniel Russell, who led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice.

The Eagles lost Friday 14-3 and won Saturday 7-6.

“We were very excited to start the season like that in Clemson,” Alexander said. “The atmosphere was absolutely electrifying, that’s what you want your stadium to feel like. It was unbelievable playing in front of 6,000 fans every night.”
The Eagles were just excited to get back on the field.

“The setting was great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you are overwhelmed by it,” Alexander said. “I thought we really played pretty well on Saturday and Sunday.”

Saturday, the Eagles got out to a 6-0 lead before the Tigers tied it in the seventh. EMU got out to a lead in the second when infielder Zack Leonard hit a two-run homer to left field. Leonard finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

“We expect that from Zack, he’s a senior,” Alexander said. “He hit that home run out of the stadium.”

Russell was 4-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored including the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the eighth that ultimately proved to be the winning run.

“Russell was outstanding this weekend. I told him to just do what’s been working and stay the course,” Alexander said. “I’m not surprised, I think he has the potential to do that every night.”

Senior Corey Chaffins won, throwing 3 1/3 innings of relief. Senior pitcher and first baseman Robert Wendzicki shut out the Tigers for four innings before leaving with a 6-1 lead with two outs in the fifth.

“Wendzicki’s outing was so important,” Alexander said of the left-hander. “He could barely move last year, he was out with (elbow) surgery most of the year. Now, he’s throwing 92 mph, he has a curveball, and he’s throwing three pitches for strikes.”
The rest of the pitching staff didn’t fare as well.

“Walks were a problem,” Alexander said. “We walked 18 and hit two guys.”

The Eagles played at Kentucky on Wednesday.

On Friday, the team plays at Tennessee Tech in the first of a three-game series with the Golden Eagles.

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