The Lions routed the Norwich University Cadets in a 12-6 victory on March 28, blowing open in the late innings what was a tight pitcher's match early on. Emerson beat down the Cadets again in the nightcap of the double-header, 16-9, sweeping Norwich to improve to 6-6 on the season in what were the first in-conference games of the season, adding to the significance of the victories.
Junior Ben McNamara threw six solid innings for Emerson, giving up three unearned runs and keeping the Cadets' offense at bay long enough for the offense to explode in an eight run fifth inning wherein the offense batted around.
As the mid-afternoon temperature cooled down quickly, the Lions heated up. McNamara settled down after a rocky third inning wherein the bases quickly became loaded and two unearned runs were tacked on the board, and the Emerson bats followed his cue.
Coach David Hanley laughed as he said the words he used to tell his pitcher how to get out of the jam could not be used in the newspaper.
"In all seriousness, I just told him the three rules of pitching: work fast, throw strikes, and change speed."
Hanley said he believed McNamara's pitching was the most impressive aspect of Emerson's win.
McNamara was able to settle down, only giving up one run over the remaining four innings.
"I just went out there and threw as many strikes as I could, got ahead of the batters, and had the defense behind me," said McNamara. "I just threw strikes they were going to hit. I felt confident in my defense."
McNamara shrugged off the notion that his confidence in the Lions defense was shaken up after giving up three unearned runs.
"Not at all," he said. "Stuff like that happens, you have to shake that. Errors happen, you have to put it all behind you and stay confident in your teammates behind you in the field."
Hanley was happy about the victory, but saw room for improvement and was vocal about it during the game, pressuring his team to live up to their potential.
"We played real well," said Hanley. "Defensively we had a couple hiccups. You can't come up in the last inning of a game up eight runs and walk six guys. But we're young, which bodes well for the future."
"Anytime you can get the big hit, it is always a good pick-me-up for the team," said Senior Captain Pete Hall, whose bases-clearing double in the fifth inning blew the game open.
The Lions made things interesting, giving up six walks and three runs in the final inning, causing the Emerson faithful to hold their breath as what looked like an easy victory began to slip a bit. Junior relief pitcher Omid Majdi gave up all three earned runs and left the bases loaded after having walked the first three batters with no outs in the top of the seventh.
Pinch-runner Jeff Kolb was asked to close the game out.
"I really wasn't ready," the freshman said. "The situation presented itself, and I came in wanting to shut things down. I only threw fastballs, I just wanted to throw it over the plate. Once that guy hit the shot off me I just got angry and wanted to shut things down."
He walked the first Cadet he faced and gave up a double that scored two, before finally retiring the final three batters to secure the win.