OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine—After advancing to the finals of the 2011 USCAA Small Collegef World Series on Wednesday afternoon against defending champions Briarcliffe College, the Southern Virginia University baseball team lost two consecutive games to the Bulldogs 11-9 and 6-2, placing second in the tournament.
Second-seeded Briarcliffe—USCAA baseball national champions in 2006 and 2010—went 5-1 in the double-elimination Small College World Series while Southern Virginia, the tournament's top seed, finished at 2-2.
After losing its second-round matchup to The Apprentice School 6-2, Briarcliffe rolled off four consecutive wins to claim the 2011 national title. In the process, the Bulldogs became the first team in eight years to advance from the losers' bracket to win three games on the final day tournament—Briarcliffe defeated Penn State Greater Allegheny 10-0 in Wednesday morning's play-in game before handing the Knights back-to-back loses in the title series.
Since Southern Virginia had not lost in the tournament prior to its first game with Briarcliffe, the Knights needed only one win against the Bulldogs to claim their first national championship.
Despite a disappointing end to the season, Southern Virginia baseball had a remarkable year.
The 2011 Knights rank first all-time among Southern Virginia baseball teams in numerous offensive categories, including highest team batting average (.337), highest team slugging percentage (.509), highest on base percentage (.416), most hits (415), most runs scored (311), most runs batted in (281) and most total bases (628).
Southern Virginia was equally impressive on defense setting program records for fielding percentage (.954) and putouts (885), while its pitching staff combined for the most wins (30), fewest losses (10), most strikeouts (205), most shutouts (6), fewest homeruns allowed (9), lowest opponent batting average (.256), lowest earned run average (3.60) and fewest earned runs allowed (118) in the program's 12-year history.