#22 Emory Opens NCAAs with 4-2 Win over Rhodes

Emory University, ranked 22nd in Division III, picked up its first NCAA Tournament victory since the 2007 campaign, as the second-seeded Eagles defeated the fifth-seeded Rhodes College Lynx 4-2 to open postseason play in Demorest, Georgia on Wednesday afternoon.

The win raised Emory's season ledger to 30-10, as the squad eclipsed the 30-victory mark for the first time since the 2007 season and for the 10th time overall in the program's history.  Rhodes dropped to 32-16 on the season with the loss.

Emory will now face the winner of Wednesday's night cap between third-seeded Birmingham-Southern College and fourth-seeded Bridgewater College.  Emory's Thursday contest is slated for a 7:00 PM start.

The Eagles scored all four of their runs in the game with two outs, to back a solid starting effort from junior Connor Dillman.  Rhodes struck first in the contest, when Emory starting pitcher gave up a run on three walks and a bunt single, but escaped the jam without any further damage by inducing a two-out groundout to first base. 

Emory would strand runners on base in the bottom of the first and second, but even the score in the third, when junior Brett Lake single up the middle with two on and two outs.  With the next batter at the plate, senior Daniel Iturrey, the Eagles executed a perfect double steal to take the lead, with Lake breaking for second base, allowing senior Brandon Hannon to take home on the throw.  Iturrey would then single, driving in Lake and pushing the Eagles' lead to 3-1 at the end of three.

Emory added another run in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single from senior Jared Kahn, increasing the advantage to 4-1. 

Meanwhile, Dillman would settle in on the mound, keeping Rhodes off the board from the second inning until the top of the seventh, when Patrick Kilkenny drove in a run on a two-out single, cutting the Eagles' lead to 4-2.  Dillman would leave after the seventh inning with a wild, but effective, outing, holding the Lynx to two earned runs on six hits and six walks, while striking out seven batters during the 115 pitch effort.

Monk would pitch a one-two-three eighth inning, and after hitting a batter with one out in the ninth, he would induce a five-four-three double play to end the contest and secure his second save of the campaign.

Dillman earned the victory, matching his career high for wins with an 8-1 overall record this season.  Kahn, Hannon, freshman Philip Maldari and sophomore Jack Karras each had two-hit efforts for Emory, while Lake drove in his 59th run of the campaign, putting him two short of the program's single season record.

Blake Glauben took the loss for Rhodes, falling to 6-5 after allowing all four runs on 12 hits and two walks over seven and two-thirds innings.

Check back to EmoryAthletics.com on Thursday for more information on the Eagles' second NCAA Tournament game.