ATLANTA — Emory recorded season-highs with 17 runs and 19 hits en route to its second consecutive victory against a nationally-ranked opponent, as the Eagles bested sixth-ranked Piedmont 17-9 at Chappell Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles improved to 18-7 on the year with the victory, the team’s seventh consecutive and 12th win in their last 13 contests. Piedmont dropped its second game in a row, falling to 19-8 on the year.
The Eagles were able to jump on top of one of the best starting pitchers in the region, Piedmont’s Kevin Caldwell, scoring 11 runs on 15 hits off the junior. Caldwell entered the game having allowed just 13 runs on 34 hits through 53.2 innings this season.
Emory’s offense was clicking from the start, notching three consecutive hits to start the game, and scoring on a ground-ball double play and a double from Jay Page to take a 2-0 lead after an inning. The Eagles’ early lead would be short-lived, however, as Piedmont scored three runs on five hits in the top of the second off Emory starter Ben Hinojosa, gaining a 3-2 advantage.
The Eagles tied the game in the bottom of third on Page’s second RBI of the day, and took the lead later in the inning when Kevin O’Connor alertly scored from second base on an error from the Piedmont shortstop. Emory added to its lead with four runs in the fourth, including RBIs from Daniel Iturrey, Page, O’Connor and Maxim Sankey in the inning, grabbing an 8-3 advantage.
Piedmont again narrowed the gap to 8-5 after a two-run home run from Curtis Cornett in the fifth, but an RBI double from Jared Welch and a two-RBI double from Page raised Emory’s advantage to 11-5 after five innings.
The Eagles added on another run in the bottom of the seven on Iturrey’s first-career home run, a solo shot off the netting beyond the right field wall, and five more in the bottom of the eighth, including two off a double from Jonathan Sholar and another off Matt Kohn’s first-career hit. The Lions picked up a pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, but it was too little too late for Piedmont.
Page finished the game 3-for-5 with two doubles, and matched his season-high with five RBIs. He raised his batting average to .323 for the season, and leads all Emory players with 24 RBIs this season.
Brett Lake added a 4-for-5 performance, while Brandon Hannon had three hits of his own and four runs scored, and Welch and Iturrey each had a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Hinojosa earned the win for Emory to improve to 4-1 on the season, allowing five runs on nine hits over 6.2 innings. Caldwell took the loss for Piedmont, dropping to 5-2 on the year.