April 12, 2012

Knights Cruise Past Blues with Offensive Show

Written by Matthew McKinney

BUENA VISTA, Va.—In a game for those who love offense, the Southern Virginia University baseball team made it three straight with a 16-10 win over the NCAA Division II Bluefield State College Blues.

Southern Virginia (13-16) defeated Bluefield State (6-24) with an explosive offensive performance as the Knights finished with their second-highest hit total (20) and run-total (16) of the season in their first home game since late March. 

Seven different Knights recorded multiple hits against Bluefield with Tyler Cox (Forest, Miss.), Trager Hintze (St. George, Utah), Barrett Price (Georgetown, S.C.) and Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.) all finishing with three hits apiece in the victory.

Stevenson, who also had three hits and a career-high six RBI in Southern Virginia's last game, had another career day against Bluefield as the sophomore short stop scored all five times he reached base.

The Knights fell behind 0-2 in the top of the first inning before Cox tied things up in the bottom frame with a two-run blast over the left field fence.

Bluefield State briefly retook a 2-3 lead in the second after the Knights failed to complete an inning-ending double play, but the Blues' advantage was short lived as center fielder Andrew Snider (Lancaster, Calif.) came through with a game-tying RBI double in the third followed by Hintze's go-ahead two-RBI single that gave Southern Virginia its first lead (5-3).

Southern Virginia led from that point on as the Knights scored in each of their final six at bats, including their three-run bottom of the third rally that put them ahead in a must-win game.

After taking a 5-3 lead after three, the Knights added seven more runs during their next two at bats in the fourth and fifth innings making it 12-4 heading into the sixth.

Right fielder Brandon Alexander extended his hitting streak to twelve games during that seven-run two-inning span with an RBI single up the middle. Alexander finished 2-for-5 with three RBI, including a solo homerun in the sixth, which pushed his team-leading total to eight on the year.

Cox and Hintze led the way for Southern Virginia with four RBI each.

Starting pitcher Tyler King (San Ramon, Calif.) earned the win for the Knights pitching seven innings and giving up five earned runs, while striking out seven batters. King's (4-6) fourth win of the year leads all Southern Virginia pitchers.

Blues starting pitcher Jordan Drager (0-1) took the loss as he struggled against Southern Virginia's potent offense lasting only three innings, while giving up eight earned runs.

King along with Cox, who relieved King in the eight and finished out the game, combined for ten strikeouts against the Blues. 

Thursday's game was offense heavy with 26 total runs, 36 total hits, and twelve extra-base hits as both teams struggled mightily on defense combining for nine errors.

With their win over Bluefield State, Southern Virginia's magic number for wins to qualify for postseason play shrunk to five. 

Riding a three-game winning streak, Southern Virginia will look to carry its momentum into Saturday's home doubleheader against USCAA-rival The Apprentice School starting at 1 p.m. EST.

The Knights trail the all-time series with Apprentice 7-11, but the teams last faced each other in 2007.