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Baseball News & Highlights

March 05, 2013

Melendez Gem Lifts Eagles to Win

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Ben Melendez went seven shutout innings to pick up his second career win in his first start since high school.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.- Behind a sparkling starting debut from junior pitcher Ben Melendez, Eastern University Baseball picked up a 4-2 win over PSU-Harrisburg (2-4) at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach. Melendez (1-1) threw only 87 pitches in seven scoreless innings to earn the win.

Melendez and PSU-Harrisburg starter Derek Slagle both worked efficiently through the early innings. Melendez allowed a two-out double in the first inning, but he was able to get a ground ball out to get out of the inning. Ground balls became a theme for the night as Melendez let his defense do work behind him. 

In his seven innings of work Melendez only threw more than four pitches to four batters, and he was able to get 11 ground ball outs. As a late inning specialist last year, Melendez led the squad in appearances, but was never stretched beyond two innings. He threw two innings in relief at Catholic to start the year, but first year Head Coach Jed Morris made the decision to work Melendez into condition to start. That conditioning was evident in the final three innings of work. Melendez appeared to get stronger as the game progressed. 

Melendez walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh, but he got the next batter to fly out to right before recording his third strikeout of the evening and a low liner right to Joe Grato at first to get out of the inning. 

Tyler Orr gave Melendez a 2-0 lead with a two-out two-run home run in the fourth inning. He hit the first pitch of the at-bat over the Dick's Sporting Goods sign in deep left-center field. Greg DeSarro, who was 2-for-4 on the afternoon, had reached on a sharp single to start the inning. The homer was the first of his career for Orr.

After Orr's homer, Slagle found his way again and kept the Eastern hitters off balance again until the top of the eighth. Angelo Kelly, who seems to make these kind of things happen, reached on a throwing error to start the inning. After Kelly stole second, Dillon Schwartzer then reached on an infield single to the left side. DeSarro chopped a ball off the plate to advance the runners. 

Joe Grato then lined a 1-2 change-up into left field to plate two and chase Slagle after seven and a third. Slagle struck out nine and allowed three earned in his first start of the season. Grato, a freshman first baseman, has four hits in his last three games.

The Lions put to runners on with one out in the eighth, but Michael Suder worked out of the jam with a pop-up on the infield and a lazy fly ball to center. Suder ran into more trouble in the ninth, and the Lions scored twice and had the bases loaded. Morris went to Anthony Messina for the final out. Messina threw one pitch and got a ground ball to end the game for his first save.

The win is the first for Morris at the helm of the Eagles. Eastern plays a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon against PSU-Berks. Follow @EUEagles on Twitter or check goeasterneagles.com for livestat information.

Box Score  

Updated: Wednesday, 06 March 2013

Coaches

Jed Morris

Jed Morris

Jed Morris takes over the Eastern Baseball program for 2011-12

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