The Eastern Michigan University baseball team hosted its first home game of the year against the Concordia University Cardinals on Tuesday. A two-out rally in the fifth inning gave EMU (10-13, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) just enough runs to edge Concordia for their first Oestrike victory of the year, 4-3.
There was some “Michigan weather” with hail coming and going in the early goings of the ballgame, but many of the players were able to keep warm through the 41-degree temperatures with 21 players (seven pitchers) seeing some action.
Redshirt senior Brian Valente started on the hill for EMU. Valente threw a three-inning shutout, not allowing a hit.
Junior Kristian Calibuso entered the game in the fourth inning to face the top of the Cardinals’ lineup. After getting catcher Chandler Sidwell (1-for-5) and first baseman Nate McHugh (0-for-4) out, Calibuso found himself dealing with a threatening bases loaded situation. Fortunately enough, he was able to get third baseman Ryan Bosanac (0-for-4) to groundout to stop the threat.
Concordia reliever Ty Wilson (0-3) came in at the start of the fifth inning, where the Eagles found their way on the scoreboard. Shortstop John Rubino (0-for-2) got on first by taking a pitch in the calf. Failed attempts to bunt and hit Rubino into scoring position, EMU needed to come through with a two-out rally.
Rubino got an early jump and advanced to third after a single to left field by Jamie Simpson (2-for-2). Right fielder Sam Ott then walked to load things up for catcher Adam Sonabend. Sonabend (1-for-4) took the first pitch to deep center field, clearing the bases for a 3 RBI double. Lee Longo (2-for-4) drove a run of his own in with a single to the left side, putting the Eagles ahead 4-0.
The Green and White threatened again in the bottom of the sixth with bases loaded and one out, but a popout by Austin Wilson (0-for-2) and a groundout by Jackson Martin (0-for-2) stopped them from gaining some insurance runs.
Reliever Ben Dartnell came in to pitch the top of the seventh. Getting the first two batters out and walking the third, Dartnell let up a pair of RBI doubles from Brad Kindred (1-for-3) and Sidwell, cutting the lead to 4-2.
With a runner on second in the top of the eighth, freshman third baseman Marquise Gill coughed up a throwing error to first base, giving the Cardinals an unearned run to bring the Eagles to within one run.
Senior Joe Battistelli came in to pitch the in the ninth, getting all three batters he faced out to earn his fourth save of the year.
After getting the team’s tenth win of the year, the Eagles will continue its five-game home stretch this weekend against MAC opponent Ohio University (4-19 overall, 1-2 MAC), and finish against Michigan State (13-7) on April 2.
The games against Ohio will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of the games are set to start at 3 p.m.