Generals pull off late-inning comeback again, split at E&H

Zach Loewenberg

EMORY, Va. – Late-inning comeback efforts led to a doubleheader split for the Washington and Lee baseball team on Saturday at Emory & Henry, as it took game one by a score of 12-11, before falling, 5-4, in game two.

Trailing, 11-9, entering the top of the ninth inning of game one, the Generals (14-17, 8-11 ODAC) loaded the bases before recording an out, before junior right fielder Ryan Monson (Frisco, Texas/Wakeland) hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score senior shortstop Chadwick Feeley. Junior catcher Bryce Burnette (Hurt, Va./Gretna) then drove in a run on a fielder's choice to tie the game, followed by a wild pitch two batters later, allowing Burnette to score the go-ahead run.

With the Wasps (5-29, 2-17 ODAC) out in front by a score of 7-4 entering the top of the sixth inning, the Generals broke out for five runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-run double to left center off the bat of sophomore center fielder Matt Whitely (Salem, Va./Hidden Valley) and a two-out, two-RBI double down the left-field line from first-year designated hitter Jackson Gazin (Reisterstown, Md./The Boys' Latin School of Md.), who entered in the sixth as a pinch hitter.

The Wasps responded, however, with a run in the bottom of the sixth on a double to center from junior designated hitter Corbin Hockensmith, before another run came across home in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of an infield single from senior shortstop Ryan French to tie the game.

E&H took its final lead of the game, 11-9, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on a Hockensmith single and a W&L error.

The Wasps claimed the first lead of the game on an RBI single through the left side in the bottom of the first from sophomore first baseman Joe Tolone. The Generals grabbed their first lead in the top of the third with three runs in the inning on RBI knocks from Burnette, senior first baseman Zach Loewenberg (Baltimore, Md./Friends School of Baltimore) and Whitely.

E&H answered with three runs in the bottom of the third, as senior center fielder Ben Sexton doubled home a run, followed by a Hockensmith RBI single to left center. Sexton scored the third run of the inning on a fielder's choice.

The Generals tied the game, 4-4, in the top of the fourth when sophomore third baseman Jason Volpicelli (Great Falls, Va./Paul VI Catholic) singled through the left side to bring in Feeley. But the Wasps tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fifth to claim a 7-4 advantage, led by a two-run home run to left center from Tolone.

W&L tallied 21 hits in the first game, the most in a game since logging 21 knocks in a 13-8 win over Bridgewater on April 19, 2016. The Generals also finished the opener with 10 doubles, the most extra-base hits in a game since recording 11 (seven doubles, two triples, two home runs) on March 26, 2008, against Southern Virginia, and the most doubles in a game since legging out 10 two-baggers in a 25-3 win over Roanoke on April 16, 2002.

In game two, the Generals took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Wasps erupted for four runs on four hits to take a 5-3 lead. In the inning, Sexton had a two-run single to right center, Tolone brought in a run on a sac fly and junior designated hitter Chandler Kazele doubled to bring home Sexton.

The Generals scored once in the eighth inning in a comeback effort, courtesy of an RBI single from Feeley, but were retired in order in the ninth to end the game.

E&H put the first run of the game on the board in the fourth inning when sophomore right fielder Hayden Milley scored on a wild pitch. W&L took a lead in the next half inning on consecutive run-scoring singles from Volpicelli and Monson, before the Generals went ahead, 3-1, in the top of the seventh on a single to center from Monson.

Monson and Volpicelli both tallied six hits between the two games to lead the Generals' offense. Monson went 6-for-9 with a run, three RBI and a double, while Volpicelli finished the day 6-for-9 with two RBI, one run and two doubles. Whitely finished 4-for-6 in game one with three runs driven in and a run, and Loewenberg added a 3-for-4, two-run effort in the opener.

Burnette and Feeley both went 2-for-6 in game one and scored three times each, with Burnette also driving in three runs. Gazin tallied a 5-for-6 day with a run, two RBI and a stolen base.

W&L senior reliever Danny Devereux (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) (4-0) earned his fourth win of the season after allowing two runs (one earned) over the final 2.2 innings of game one. Senior right-hander Kevin McHugh (Forest Hill, Md./McDonogh School) started the contest and allowed seven runs (six earned) over the first five innings, while seniors Andrew Earvolino (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and Jack Boyce (Armonk, N.Y./Iona Prep) covered the next 1.1 innings and allowed two runs.

In game two, junior right-hander Jackson Thigpen (Potomac, Md./St. John's College) (1-1) took the loss as the starting pitcher after tossing 6.2 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on 10 hits. Boyce came in for one out, before sophomore lefty Nate Cohen (Atlanta, Ga./North Springs) worked a scoreless eighth inning, with one walk and a strikeout.

For the Wasps, Sexton logged five hits on the day, scored five times and drove in three runs, including a 4-for-6, four-run performance in game one. Tolone and Hockensmith added three hits each in the first game, while senior second baseman Andrew Francisco notched a pair of hits in both contests.

In game one, E&H sophomore J.T. Agosto started and tossed 5.2 innings and allowed nine runs on 14 hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. First-year reliever Tyler Muncy and sophomore reliever Jordan Smith (0-2) then finished the game, combining for three unearned runs allowed over the final 3.1 innings on seven hits, with Smith suffering the loss.

Game two was won by junior Toby Robson (2-4), who allowed three runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings. Senior Zach Shepherd allowed one run on two hits with two walks in the eighth inning, before Zach Houston pitched a perfect ninth inning to nail down his second save of the season.

The Generals will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Shenandoah for a 4:00 pm ODAC showdown.

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