Bitanga Sets Emory Save Record in 7-4 Win over Oglethorpe
Emory University senior Paul Schwendel pitched seven strong innings, and junior Mike Bitanga closed out the game for his school-record setting 17th save of his career, as the Eagles bested Oglethorpe University 7-4 on the road on Saturday.
With the win, Emory raised its record to 25-11 on the season, while Oglethorpe dropped to 12-27. Schwendel earned the win on the day, improving to 6-3 on the season, while Stormy Petrels' starter Emmett Goodman fell to 4-5 with the loss.
Oglethorpe broke through against Schwendel in the bottom of the third inning, with a two-out single from Jake Spear, scoring Frank Sarno from second base to take a 1-0 lead. However, Emory answered right back in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out on two walks and an error, and scoring a run on a sacrifice fly from Wes Peacock that drove in Jared Welch from third base. After a double steal and a walk loaded the bases again for Emory, Mark Lindemann cleared them with a three-run, two out double to deep right-center field, putting the Eagles up 4-1.
Emory added another run in the fifth on a two-out RBI double off Jay Page's bat, scoring Welch all the way from first base. But, the Stormy Petrels responded with a three-run frame off Schwendel in the bottom of the inning, making it a 5-4 score.
Schwendel would gut his way through another two innings, needing just 17 more pitches to get through the sixth and seventh innings and preserve the Emory lead. He finished the game with four runs allowed, just two of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out 11 batters. It marked the third-straight game and fourth time this season that Schwendel has recorded a double-digit strikeout effort.
Bitanga entered the game in the eighth with the score still at 5-4, and after allowing a leadoff single, struck out the next two batters and got a fly out to end the inning. In the top of the ninth, Welch extended the Emory lead to 7-4 with a two out, two run home run, his second of the season.
Bitanga allowed another leadoff hit in the ninth, but worked around it to earn his ninth save of the season. He moved one save past former Eagle Keith Meizler for career save, and is now one save shy of the single season record, set by Meizler in 2004.
Welch picked up a single in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, and threw out a runner in the bottom of the first to break the school record for runners caught stealing, both in a season and over a career.
The Eagles and the Stormy Petrels will wrap up their season series tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Chappell Park, the final home game of the season for Emory.