TIGERVILLE, S.C. - In their first year of eligibility for Conference Carolinas post season the Lions secured the seven seed and an opening round matchup with the Limestone Saints. Emmanuel was looking to even the season record against the Saints, as Limestone won the season series two games to one.
In the top of the first, the Lion offense hit several balls hard but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Limestone plated one run on two hits in the bottom of the first to take the early 1-0 lead. In the top of the third the Lions loaded the bases with a hit by pitch and two walks. With one out, a misplayed infield fly allowed the Lions to knot the score at one run a piece. After allowing a lead off double Cooper Murphy was a strike away from leaving the runner stranded before allowing back to back two strike RBI hits. The Saints would tack on another run off of Murphy in the third to take a 5-1 lead. lead off Home Run for Limestone in the fifth would extend the lead to five runs.
Looking to get the offense going Evan Mask led off the sixth with a four-pitch walk. After an error and a single the Lions loaded the bases. Kyle LaCross pushed across a run with a Sac Fly to score the second run. With the bases loaded again Demetrius Foster would cut the lead in half with a fielders choice. Reliever Colton Bridges pitched a quick bottom of the sixth to get the offense back to work. Wasting no time getting back on the board Jake Nichols homered to left. Evan Mask reached on an error behind a Kyle Gaura walk to put runners at the corners for Dustin McNicholl. McNicholl's RBI single would pull the Lions within one run at 6-5. With runners at second and third a wild pitch would tie the game. Emmanuel would take their first lead of the game on an RBI ground out by Brock Baughcum. A walk to Demetrius Foster and stolen base by Baughcum would put runners on the corners. Quinn Tomasino singled on a 2-0 pitch to score two runs and extend the lead. Pinch runner Brandon Taylor would cap off the scoring in the seventh as he came around on Kyle Gaura's single to left field. Limestone centerfielder connected on the first pitch he saw in the seventh to cut into the Lions lead, 10-7. After a walk Emmanuel would go to the bullpen for the second time in the game and call on Kyle Heuchert who was able to shut down the inning. The Lions would answer right back with two runs on two hits and a walk in the eighth. Heuchert would coast through the last two innings allowing only two runners to reach base while striking out 3.
With the victory Emmanuel will play North Greenville in the second round on Thursday at 7:00pm.
Demetrius Foster - 2-4, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, SB
Quinn Tomasino - 2-4, 2 RBI
Jake Nichols - 1-3, HR
Kyle Gaura - 2-5, Run, RBI
Dustin McNicholl - 2-5, 2 Runs, RBI
Colton Bridges - 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K's
Kyle Heuchert - 2.2 IP, 1 Hit, 3 K's