Royals Start ODAC With Split Against No. 11 Virginia Wesleyan

Freshman Lauren Seale shut down the ODAC's top team in her second collegiate start.  (photo by Scott Eyre)
Freshman Lauren Seale shut down the ODAC's top team in her second collegiate start. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's softball women got their ODAC season started off on the right foot, earning a split with preseason favorite Virginia Wesleyan College Wednesday afternoon in Harrisonburg.  The women dropped the opener 4-0 before getting a great pitching performance with some timely hitting to win the nightcap, 3-1.

Virginia Wesleyan 4, EMU 0
Eastern Mennonite played well from the first pitch against the Marlins, ranked No. 11 in this week's NFCA national poll, as the starting pitchers locked the game in a scoreless duel through three innings.  VWC finally broke through in the fourth, scoring three times, including twice with two outs.

The Marlins got another two-out score in the fifth to add to their cushion.

The Royals got one runner one base in each of the first five innings, and put two on base in the sixth.  The women finally got the bases loaded with two outs in their final at-bat, but Danyele Smith's (Broadway, Va./Broadway) line drive down the line was snagged by VWC's third baseman to end the game.

Vivian Maddox (Rustburg, Va./Brookville) and Aislinn Lucas (Grottoes, Va./Fort Defiance) each had a pair of singles to lead the team at the plate.  Jordan Aylor (Madison, Va./Madison County) gave up four runs, with only three being earning, in 6.1 innings of work.  Cara Neikirk (Salem, Va./Glenvar) threw the final 0.2.

EMU 3, Virginia Wesleyan 1
The Marlins loaded the bases in their first at-bat of the nightcap, but had to settle for one run.  Despite EMU threatening in the first and the second, the 1-0 score stuck until the fourth.

Smith led off the frame with a single and Lucas sacrificed her to second.  Angelia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) smashed a double to bring home Smith and tie the score.  Then with two away, Miller came home after an infield single from Haley Thomas (Salem, Va./Salem) to give the women their first lead of the day at 2-1.

The same part of the order came through for some insurance in the sixth as Smith led off with a walk.  She moved up on a grounder, stole third and finally scored on Miller's single to center.

Virginia Wesleyan got a runner on with a one-out error in the seventh, but a line drive double play ended the threat and the game.

Freshman pitcher Lauren Seale (Madison, Va./Madison County) kept VWC's talented lineup off-balance as she allowed just three hits with three walks in a complete game victory.  She also struck out three Marlins.

Smith reached base twice and scored both times.  Miller had a hand in each tally as she finished 2-2 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.  Nicolette Cuevas (Suffolk, Va./King's Fork) also had a pair of hits.

With the impressive split, the Royals are now 3-1 on the year and 1-1 in the ODAC.  They step back out of the conference for a twinbill at Juniata College tomorrow afternoon, starting at 3:00pm.