The Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-3) baseball team lost 3-2 against Pittsburgh in the first of a three-game series in Sanford, Fla. The Eagles were down three runs until the sixth inning where they scored two runs. With the loss, the Eagles are now just 1-3 on the season after losing a three-game series versus Austin Peay last weekend.
The Eagles have eight games in Florida during their winter break and this is the first of the bunch. They spent last year’s break in Texas, where they went 2-6 against non-conference teams. Both Pittsburgh and EMU ended 2019 with losing records but came into this season with hopes for a turnaround.
When the two teams met, Billy Corcoran struck out the side for Pittsburgh to start the game. Luke McGuire was the starter for EMU. He let up a run in the first inning with two outs when David Yanni singled and Ron Washington Jr. doubled to bring in the game’s first score. The second inning didn’t feature any scores but a pair of strikeouts by Corcoran kept EMU hitless.
Pitt added the second run in the third with a single by Nico Popa and an RBI single by Yanni. The Panthers left two on base when McGuire forced a groundout to end the inning. EMU also left two on base in the top of the fourth when Taylor Hopkins and Christian Bault reached on fielding errors. Pitt scored their third run in the bottom half of the inning when Riley Wash scored from third base on a double play.
EMU scored two runs in the sixth off two hits. Jeff Timko started the inning with a single to right and advanced a base after a wild pitch by Corcoran. Hopkins doubled to left field to bring in Timko from second. Hopkins then moved to third after a groundout by Bault. Daniel Warkentin brought in Hopkins with a groundout RBI to third base. The sixth inning ended on a groundout by Nick Jones.
McGuire lasted 5.2 innings before being replaced by Justin Reinkall to finish the sixth. Reinkall kept Pitt’s Sky Duff and Jordan Anderson on base by striking out Popa for the final out. Dylan Lester came in to pitch for Corcoran to begin the seventh. He lasted 1.2 innings to be replaced by Chase Smith in the eighth. McGuire gave up three runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
The Eagles didn’t get a hit for the final three innings. Pitt’s bullpen held strong to close out the 3-2 win, their third on the new season. EMU goes into the next two games against Pitt aiming to even their record at 3-3. Reinkall finished the 2.1 innings by letting up one hit and two strikeouts. Hopkins went 1-for-4 with the RBI double and has two home runs and nine runs batted in on the season.
EMU will close out the series against Pitt on Sunday, Feb. 23 after also playing the Panthers on Saturday afternoon. They play Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday and will finish playing down South in the Snowbird Classic, playing Saint Louis, Villanova and Northeastern.