All but one Eagle starter collected a hit while Daniel Eaton tossed eight innings and allowed just one earned run in eighth-ranked Embry-Riddle’s 8-3 victory over Ave Maria (Fla.) on Friday afternoon. The Eagles improve to 35-14 overall and 19-6 in The Sun Conference; the Gyrenes slip to 22-29 overall and 13-12 in league play.
A lightning and rain scare delayed the start time of the game until 4:45 p.m., nearly a two-hour delay from the original start time of 3 p.m. However, the wait didn’t seem to bother Eaton as the Warner Robbins, Ga. native was perfect through the first three innings.
ERAU gave Eaton a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jordan Romero singled to center field to bring in JT Warmoth after Warmoth singled to begin the frame, then moved to second and third in the next two at-bats.
Warmoth made a nice play in the Gyrene third to rob Bobby Oliver of a probable double, gloving a hard-hit grounder at third and following with a perfect throw to Chris Page at first to record the out. Two pitches later Jeff Lemon made a diving grab in right field to end the Gyrene third and send the game to the fourth.
Page started the visitor-half of the fourth with a single up the middle, moving to second when Frankie Arias singled to third base. Lemon was walked by AMU starter Ethan Striz to load the bases. Warmoth collected an RBI when he was hit by a Striz pitch, and Greg Smith brought in two more with a single to right-center, pushing the Eagle lead to 4-0.
Eaton stranded two Gyrenes on the bases in the bottom of the fourth, ending his perfect game when he walked Pat Collins-Bride to begin the frame, and then his no-hitter when Alex Sanchez blooped a single to center. However, Eaton got a fielder’s choice ground ball from Trace McDermott to end the inning, and preserved the ERAU lead.
The Blue and Gold stretched their lead to 5-0 in the sixth, plating an unearned run when a pair of errors allowed Matt Skipper to move from first all the way home in a single play.
The Eagles committed their own pair of errors in the home-half of the sixth as three Gyrene runs came across the plate, two of them unearned, cutting the Eagle lead to 5-3. The damage would have been worse if not for another impressive play by Warmoth at third base when he snagged a line drive off the bat of Aaron Pigna, ending the threat.
The seventh inning went by uneventful, but the Eagles got two runs back in the eighth, one on Romero’s double down the left field line and the other when Ben Kline flew out to center field, allowing David Belardes, Adam Cellini’s courtesy runner, to touch home, making the score 7-3 in favor of the visitors.
Eaton faced the minimum in the bottom of the eighth, and ERAU added one more insurance run in the ninth as Warmoth doubled to left-center, scoring Arias from second.
Robbie Ratliff entered the game for the Eagles in the ninth, working a perfect inning to end the game and send the Eagles to their 8-3 win.
Eaton (5-4) pitched eight complete innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits while fanning five batters.
Romero went 2-for-6 with two RBIs and Warmoth finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Smith drove in two runs and Kline collected the last RBI for the Eagles. Arias, Lemon, Skipper and Page all recorded two hits each.