The Eastern Michigan University (11-18, 3-5 MAC) men’s baseball team made a come-from-behind victory in dramatic fashion, taking hold of the game in the eighth inning and winning 7-6 in the second of a three game series against rivals Western Michigan University Broncos (11-14, 4-4 MAC) in Ypsilanti on Saturday.
The Eagles fell behind in the first inning when two errors and a couple walks drove in three runs, putting the Eagles in an early hole. The score didn’t get any better through the fourth inning when the Eagles went down by four runs and the game looked all but over.
The Eagles finally got on the board in the fifth inning when David Lett put down a sacrifice bunt, scoring Adam Dennison, bringing the game to 5-1 after five innings.
In the sixth inning, the Eagles bats came alive. Michael Mioduszewski singled to center field scoring Mitchell McGeein. Then Justin Williams came up to bat and also hit a single to center field, scoring John Montgomery. Next up to bat was David Lett, who singled up the middle, scoring both Williams and Mioduszewski. At the end of the sixth inning the score was 6-5 in favor of the Broncos.
“It was just continue and compete,” said Eagles coach Mark Van Ameyde, “when we scored to make it 5-1 we thought we were heading in the right direction.”
And in the right direction it went. Eastern Michigan didn’t allow the Broncos to score again, and the Eagles never looked back after the sixth inning when the offense came alive and sparked the rest of the team to get into the game.
Going into the eighth inning, the Eagles were down by one run and time was running out. After an Austin Wilson double to right field, Jordan Peterson came up to bat and singled to center field, scoring Wilson and tying the game 6-6.
Senior John Rubino then walked up to the plate and singled to right field, scoring David Lett, who reached base off of a bunt earlier in the inning. After eight innings the Eagles had come back and taken the lead 7-6.
Sophomore pitcher Sam Delaplane came into the game in the ninth inning to try and save the game and secure the victory for the Eagles. Delaplane threw 11 pitches and closed out the inning strong, completing the comeback victory for the Eagles and earning his fifth save of the season.
Starting pitcher Jake Andrews (2-2) lasted for five innings, earning five strike outs and giving up six runs on seven hits. But it was relief pitcher Matthew Beaton (1-1) who earned his first win of the season against the Broncos.
At the plate it was senior Adam Dennison who had the most success, going 3-for-4. Freshman David Lett who led the Eagles with four RBI’s on Saturday afternoon, while going 2-for-3. The Eagles had eight of their nine starting players earn a hit against the Broncos.
The Eagles take the second game of the weekend series and hold the momentum going into the rubber match tomorrow afternoon.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the guys came out tomorrow in a pretty good spot and start strong,” Van Ameyde said.
Eastern Michigan will finish their weekend series against Western Michigan on Sunday afternoon. The game starts at 1 p.m. and will decide the winner of the series between the two rivals.
Follow Robert Sherman on Twitter: @r__sherman