The Eastern Michigan University baseball team lost both games in a doubleheader against New Jersey Institute of Technology in Hoover, Alabama on Feb. 16. In the first outing, the Eagles lost 10-4 and then fell 10-9 in extra innings in the second game.
Right-handed pitcher Holden Cook starts the first game and records three consecutive outs. The Eagles couldn’t take advantage in the first inning, though. Freshman Taylor Hopkins gets into scoring position, but he couldn’t come around. NJIT used that momentum to score two runs of their own in the third inning. Cook’s day goes downhill after the first two innings, and he was removed after just 3.2 innings pitched. He gives up two runs in the third and four more in the sixth.
Cook finishes the day with 89 pitches, six hits and six runs allowed. Scott Granzotto, a southpaw, comes out of the bullpen in the fourth. An inning later, the EMU bats began to wake up. Nate Jones records an RBI sacrifice, and then junior Zachary Owings singled to continue to cut into the NJIT lead. Jones knocks in another runner in the seventh inning, but every time the Eagles make a run, it's quickly answered by the Highlanders. A three-run ninth inning for NJIT put the game out of reach.
Senior Cameron Cruz doubled in a run in the ninth inning, but the Eagles lost 10-4 to fall to 0-2 on the season.
In the second game, junior Remington Monce started on the mound for Eastern. This time around, EMU got on the board first as Jones scores on a fielding error. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they immediately surrender three runs in the bottom of the first inning and trails 3-1 heading into the second. Alex Wolanski, a redshirt senior catcher, hits a sacrifice fly to score Hopkins. The Eagles cut into the deficit even more on an RBI single from Jones in the next inning.
Monce was pulled in the fifth inning after 4.0 innings pitched and 91 pitches. He gave up five runs as the Eagles trailed 5-4 when he left. Justin Meis, a freshman from Pittsburgh, enters the game. The score remains unchanged in the fifth inning, but NJIT adds two more runs in the sixth going up to 7-4. However, Jones and the Eagles kept fighting. Jones doubled, followed by an Owings triple. Owings then scores on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 7-6 in favor of the Highlanders.
Eastern Michigan trails 9-6 heading into the ninth inning, and it certainly seemed like the Eagles were headed for another loss. However, EMU loaded the bases with zero outs and kept the pressure on NJIT. Owings walked, and Jones hit a sacrifice fly. First baseman John Rensel Jr. hit another sac fly to tie the game, sending it into extras.
In the bottom half of the 10th, the Highlanders’ sophomore infielder Julio Marcano blasts a walk-off home run sending the Eagles to a 0-3 start to the season. Marcano was 3-5 from the plate with three runs batted in and two runs. Jones and Owings each had a team-high two hits for EMU.
Eastern Michigan will finish their series versus NJIT on Feb. 17 and then will head to San Antonio, Texas for the Alamo Irish Classic from Feb. 21 to Feb. 24.