Two-Out Runs, Iturrey’s Slam Guide Emory to Second Win over #6 Piedmont

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Emory University scored 10 runs with two outs, and junior Daniel Iturrey hit a grand slam, his second home run in as many days, as the Eagles claimed the rubber match of a three-game weekend series with sixth-ranked Piedmont College by a 14-5 score.

Despite the large deficit in the final score, junior Mike Bitanga earned a save in the contest, the 16th of his career to tie former Eagle Keith Meizler (2003-06) for the most in the program's history.  Bitanga pitched the final three and a third innings of the game without allowing a hit, walking just one batter and striking out two.  It was his eighth save of the season, putting him two shy of Meizler's single-season record of 10, set in 2004.

Just a day removed from notching season-best marks with 17 runs and 19 hits against Piedmont at Chappell Park, in the second game of the day in Demorest, the Eagles recorded their second-best totals of the year with 14 runs and 16 hits.

The Eagles opened up the scoring in the second game of the day, plating three runs in the top of the second inning.  With the bases loaded and two out in the inning, Emory's Kevin O'Connor scored on a passed ball, and Maxim Sankey followed with a two-RBI double in the ensuing at bat.  The Eagles added another two out run in the third, when O'Connor doubled in Jay Page from first base.

After cruising through the first four innings, freshman starter Connor Dillman hit a bump in the road in the fifth inning, allowing three runs to score in the frame, including two on a one-out double from Kyle Davis.  However, after Brett Lake drew a one out walk in the sixth and Sankey and Jared Welch each followed with base hits, Iturrey promptly emptied the bases with his second home run in as many days, a grand slam that extended the Emory lead to 8-3.

The grand slam was the first by an Eagle since March 14, 2011, when former Eagle Andrew Cohn hit one against Washington University (Mo.) at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Tournament.  It was the second-career home run for Iturrey, both coming during the weekend series against Piedmont.

Piedmont scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning against Dillman to pull back within three runs, and forcing the Eagles to go to closer Mike Bitanga for a potential 10-out save opportunity.  Bitanga recorded the final out of the inning without any further damaged.

The Eagles then went to work expanding their lead in the seventh and eighth innings.  A two-out single from Lake brought O'Connor across, making it a 9-5 game, and, after a one-two-three seventh inning from Bitanga in the bottom of the frame, the Eagles crossed the plate five times in the top of the eighth all with two out.  Including in the scoring outburst was a bases-loaded three-RBI triple from O'Connor, and RBI singles from Wes Peacock and Mark Lindemann, capping off the scoring for the day.

Bitanga would allow a walk in the eighth but escape unscored upon, and retire the side in order in the ninth to secure the Emory victory.

All together, the Eagles scored 10 of their 14 runs during the game with two outs.  Iturrey finished the game two-for-four with four RBIs, and O'Connor went four-for-four with four RBIs, falling a home run short of the cycle. 

Dillman earned the win for Emory to improve to a team-best 6-1 on the year, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out eight over five and two-thirds innings.

Starter Matt Lisk took the loss for Piedmont, dropping to 3-3 on the season.

After dropping the early game of the doubleheader by a score of 4-3, the Eagles now stand at 19-8 on the season, including wins in eight of their last nine games, three of which have come against nationally-ranked teams.  Piedmont dropped to 20-9 on the year with the loss.  Emory outscored the sixth-ranked Lions by a 34-18 margin during the three games this weekend.

Emory will face its fifth-straight game against a nationally-ranked opponent on Wednesday, April 4th as the Eagles will play at 24th-ranked Birmingham-Southern College at 7:00 PM ET.