The Eastern Michigan University baseball team concluded its season on a positive note on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over the University of Toledo in 10 innings.
Saturday’s win was preceded by a win and a loss against Toledo in the two days prior. On Thursday, the Eagles blasted six runs in the fourth inning en route to a 10-5 victory.
Lee Longo had his best hitting game of the year for Eastern (19-34 overall, 6-21 Mid-American Conference) going 4-for-4 with two runs and two runs batted in and a home run.
“He’s awesome, he’s been awesome all year,” EMU coach Jay Alexander said. “He’s a tough out.”
Ty Gilmore also played well, going 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.
Alexander praised his game afterwards.
“[His play] was outstanding,” he said. “Ty’s been working on it a lot and getting better offensively. He struggled throughout the year, but he’s been staying the course.”
Alexander also complimented Gilmore’s defensive prowess.
“He’s a defensive force to be reckoned with,” he said. “That’s why he’s in the lineup every day, because he gives us a chance to win on the defensive side, all the time.”
Ryan Callahan led the way for Toledo (22-32, 11-16 MAC) going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI.
Sterling Sharp (2-6) picked up the win for Eastern with seven innings pitched, four hits, four runs, and six strikeouts. Ryan Lavoie picked up his first save of the year with his relief work.
Alexander said after the game that getting the first game of the series was very important, especially because of the teams’ recent struggles.
“You get that first game, you get a chance to win the series,” he said. “It’s extremely important.”
The Eagles lost the second, a tough one on Friday, leading 2-0 going into the seventh, before allowing two runs in each of the next two innings to lose 4-2.
Paul Schaak started for EMU and pitched well; allowing five hits, two runs, and striking out two batters. Devon Bronson (2-3) took the loss for Eastern; allowing three hits, two runs, and two strikeouts in just over an innings’ work.
The Eagles managed eight hits in the game, but three of the hits came from John Rubino who also scored one run in his four at bats. Longo cooled down in the game; only going 1-for-4, although he did get a home run for the second straight game in the fifth inning.
Eastern wrapped up the series with a ten-inning victory on Saturday 5-2 and clinched their first MAC series victory of the season.
Tyler Russell started the last game of the season for the Eagles and gave them seven innings, seven hits, two runs and three strikeouts.
Zane Birchler (1-0) got his first career win for his work in the ninth and tenth innings allowing no runs and just one hit.
“Zane was definitely a guy who deserved to pitch,” Alexander said. “And he has proven that he can pitch at this level, so we put him in a situation and he wanted the ball and he did well.”
Sam Ott was held hitless in the game, but Gilmore picked up the slack; going 2-for-5 with a run. John Montgomery also picked up two hits, but on three at bats with an RBI.
Alexander said after the game that he was extremely proud of the team even though the overall season was disappointing.
“We didn’t give up all year,” Alexander said. “We worked hard. Even though the season wasn’t going our way with all the injuries we’ve had and letdowns we’ve had.”
Alexander had some words for his team after the season-finale to keep them encouraged for next year.
“I told them good job and keep your head held up high,” Alexander said. “Things don’t go well in life, but you gotta keep moving on and moving forward.”