April 20, 2011

Brown Pitches Shutout, Knights Split with Bluefield on Senior Night

COVINGTON, Va. — After dropping the opening game of Wednesday's Senior Night doubleheader with Bluefield College 5-3, the Southern Virginia University baseball team responded with a 5-0 victory in Game 2 to close out home play for the 2011 season.

Between games the Knights recognized seniors Darrell Brown and Jake Johnson—two of the most accomplished players in Southern Virginia baseball history.

GAME 1

Southern Virginia fell behind in the opening inning of Game 1 as Bluefield's leadoff batter, senior Kyle Cabral, sent freshman Britt Dalton's first pitch of the game over the left-field fence. A two-out error by Southern Virginia allowed the visiting Rams to add another run (unearned) in the top of the first.

Bluefield would add two more runs in the top of the second—one earned and one unearned—to take a 4-0 lead over the Knights after two innings.

Andrew Snider put Southern Virginia on the board in the bottom of the third with a two-out solo shot to right cutting the Knights' deficit to three runs.

Dalton's struggles on the mound continued, however, in the top of the fourth giving up a lead off double and walking the next batter. With two runners on and no outs, Coach Mann replaced Dalton with sophomore Ed Greenhalgh who got out of the jam while allowing only one unearned run.

Greenhalgh would retire six straight batters through the fifth and sixth innings as the score remained 5-1 in favor of the Rams heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Bluefield changed pitchers before the Knights' at bat and sophomore Josh Linn welcomed the Rams' new pitcher to the game by hitting his first pitch out of park and cutting Southern Virginia's deficit to three (5-2)

After a scoreless top of the seventh, Bluefield again changed pitchers prior to the Knights last at bat.

Bluefield's closer retired the first batter he faced, but then walked pinch-hitter Andrew Jones and hit Dale Brown to put Southern Virginia runners on first and second with the heart of the Knights' lineup approaching.

The Knights' next batter, Jake Johnson, came through with a RBI single that scored Jones, advanced Brown to third and brought Snider—who had already homered in the game—to the plate as the go-ahead run.

After Johnson stole second to put the tying runs into scoring position, Snider fouled out to third and Linn struck out swinging ending Southern Virginia' comeback threat.

Wednesday's loss to Bluefield snapped a 12-game winning streak for Southern Virginia baseball as the Knights had not dropped a game since Mar. 29.

Dalton went three innings in the loss and moves to 6-3 on the season. Greenhalgh allowed only one hit in four innings of relief work. 

GAME 2

Darrell Brown took the mound for Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader with Bluefield and the all-time winningest pitcher in Southern Virginia baseball history tossed a gem on his own Senior Night leading the Knights to a 5-0 victory.

Brown went all seven innings against the Rams while allowing only four hits and recording six strikeouts in his fourth career shutout. 

"It felt great to pitch a shutout in my final home game at Southern Virginia," said Brown from Window Rock, Ariz. "I normally like to throw the first game of a doubleheader, but Coach Mann suggested that as a senior, I should close things out for us tonight—its nice to finish on a high note." 

Brown was hitting his spots from his opening pitch and following a one-hit top of the first, the senior retired the next thirteen Bluefield batters he faced.

While Brown was dealing on the mound, Southern Virginia's offense was clicking at the plate.

A Boston Bushnell sacrifice fly scored the Knights' first run in the bottom of the second inning. Linn added to Southern Virginia's lead in in the bottom of the third with his second homerun of the evening, a two-run smash that flew well over the left-field fence.

With two outs and runners on first and third in the bottom of the fifth, Trager Hintze doubled to right driving in Southern Virginia's final two runs of the night.

"I want to give credit to Coach Mills who was calling my pitches tonight," added Brown. "He was really reading the batters well and giving me the right calls at the right times."

Brown joked after his perfromance on Senior Night, "My wife and I found out this morning that we are expecting a son and that may have given me some extra motivation."