April 1, 2011

Johnson Shines as Knights Sweep Washington Adventist

BUENA VISTA, Va. —  Led by another stellar afternoon from senior-captain Jake Johnson, the Southern Virginia University baseball team continued its best season in program history with a 3-1, 9-7 sweep over Washington Adventist University during Friday's home doubleheader.

Southern Virginia (17-5) entered Friday's matchup with NCAA Division II Washington Adventist (5-9) ranked No. 1 in the USCAA Coaches' Poll—the Knights have been the top-rated team in two out of three polls this season—while the Shock were sixth in the same rankings.

GAME 1

Washington Adventist struck first in Game 1 scoring an unearned run off Johnson in the top of the first on one hit and two Southern Virginia errors.

Johnson took it upon himself to even the score for the Knights as he led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot to left center.

The score would remain knotted at one run apiece until Johnson opened the bottom of the third with his second lead-off dinger of the game giving Southern Virginia a 2-1 advantage.

The Knights tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth when Mitch Mantle singled through the right side of the infield to score Brandon Alexander who had stolen second after walking to first.  

Johnson, who went 2-for-4 from the plate with two solo homers, also picked up the win after pitching seven innings without allowing an earned run. The All-American moves to 3-0 from the mound this season with a 1.29 ERA.

GAME 2

With sophomore Ed Greenhalgh toeing the rubber in Game 2 of the doubleheader, Southern Virginia claimed an early lead scoring three runs in the bottom of the first.

After Johnson walked to lead off the inning, Dale Brown singled to right center advancing Johnson to third. Johnson then scored from third on as Andrew Snider reached base on a bobbled grounder to second. 

Snider stole second before Trager Hintze hit a sacrifice fly to right scoring Brown and advancing Snider to third. Hintze scored the final run of the inning for the Knights on a sacrifice out from Tyler Cox.

Southern Virginia's three-run lead didn't last long as Washington Adventist drove in three during the top of the second to even the score. Unfazed, the Knights answered back in the bottom half of the second with another three-run inning to take a 6-3 advantage.

Catcher Barrett Price started things off with a single through the left side of the infield. Kyle Rindlisbacher replaced Price as a courtesy runner before Johnson blasted his third homer of the afternoon, a two-run job, over the right-field fence. One batter later, Snider capped off the Knights scoring for the inning with a solo homerun to left center.

Washington Adventist made a pitching change in the bottom half of a scoreless third inning. The Shock then opened the top of the fourth with two more runs on two hits against Greenhalgh to pull within one of their hosts (6-5).

With only one out and a runner still on first, Coach Mann decided to replace Greenhalgh with freshman Kody Parkinson, which proved to be a wise move as Parkinson finished the inning without allowing another hit.

Southern Virginia again matched the Shock's offensive output in the top half of the inning with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth as Snider recorded his third RBI of the game while Hintze tallied his second.

The Knights added an insurance run to their 8-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Johnson crossed the plate for the fourth time in Game 2 on Hintze's third RBI.

Washington Adventist showed fight in their final at bat during the top of the seventh, scoring two runs to make it 9-7 before Parkison closed out the inning to record his third win of the season. Parkinson allowed only four hits and one earned run in three and two-thirds innings of relief work.

After going 4-for-6 on the day with three homeruns, four RBI and six runs scored, Johnson now has a .500 batting average for the season (42-for-84) with a 1.024 slugging percentage.

Junior Snider also was outstanding going 3-for-6 from the plate with three RBI.  The Honorable Mention All-American is now batting .376 for the season with a .741 slugging percentage.

Freshman Alexander was a perfect 3-for-3 in the Knights' Game 2 victory.

Men's Baseball will host a doubleheader against Montreat College on Monday, Apr. 4 at Parry McCluer High School. The first of two games will begin at noon.