February 16, 2013

Baseball Suffers First Losses of Season at Virginia Wesleyan

Written by Sean Dahlin 

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—The Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped its first two contests of 2013 8-6 and 6-1 on a snowy and rainy Saturday at Virginia Wesleyan College. 

"Weather conditions were tough and we didn't play as well as we could have," said fourth-year Head Coach Logan Mann. "I'm proud of our guys for continuing to work hard. We'll learn from today to improve upon the rest of the season." 

In its first games on the road in 2013, Southern Virginia (5-2) was held by Virginia Wesleyan (2-3) to single-digit run outputs in both games of the doubleheader for the first time this season—the Knights registered 80 runs in their first five meetings of the year. 

In the opener, after a monstrous top of the fifth inning in which the Knights connected for five hits and dragged all six of their runs across home plate,—CJ Andrus (Federal Way, Wash.), Avery Benesch (Gilbert, Ariz.), Dale Brown (Mesa, Ariz.), Tyler Cox (Forest, Miss.), Robert Key (Flower Mound, Texas) and Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.) scored—Southern Virginia took a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom half of the sixth. 

The Marlins, however, strung together four hits throughout the end of the inning, including an RBI-single by Brett Sutryk to score teammate Evan Polk for the go-ahead run on route to the 8-6 win. 

Early on, the home team took a 4-0 lead highlighted by a three-run second inning, including a two-run triple from Evan Polk before the Knights' offensive fifth inning of work. 

Virginia Wesleyan reliever Reed Duffer earned the win, pitching two complete innings of shutout ball while allowing two hits and a walk. Southern Virginia freshman reliever Scott Austin (Glendale, Ariz.) recorded the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in the final 1.2 innings of play. 

Left-handed starting pitcher Ed Greenhalgh (Roy, Utah) went 4.1 innings allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out two batters. 

Stevenson led all batters in game one with three hits, finishing 3-for-4 from the plate with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Both squads finished with 10 hits apiece respectively. 

In game two, Virginia Wesleyan pushed past runs in the bottom of the first and third innings for a 2-0 advantage. 

Southern Virginia then cut into the Marlins' lead (2-1) as starting centerfielder Brown, who finished 2-for-2 in the contest, knocked in Knights teammate senior third baseman Trager Hintze (Purcell, Okla.). 

The final four runs of the game were scored in the bottom of the fifth inning beginning with a home run to left-center field by Virginia Wesleyan's Jordan Miller. 

Marlins starting pitcher Dylan Stoskus (1-1) went the distance for the win throwing six complete, striking out five batters and allowing six hits and one run. Southern Virginia starter Cox (1-1) recorded the loss, striking out four batters while giving up four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings-pitched. 

Despite being swept on Saturday, along with Stevenson's team-high four hits in two games, freshman designated hitter Benesch recorded three hits on the afternoon. 

In addition, senior left fielder Key and junior first baseman Josh Linn (Muskogee, Okla.) added to Southern Virginia's offensive output with two hits and two RBIs each. 

Baseball will look to return to its winning ways when the Knights travel for one game at Virginia Intermont College on Friday, Feb. 22, and a doubleheader at NAIA-member Montreat College on Saturday, Feb. 23.