Written by Sean Dahlin
PETERSBURG, Va.—The Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped both games 7-0 and 7-6 on Friday at Virginia State University, snapping its three-game winning streak.
"We started off slowly offensively, struggling at the plate," said fourth-year Head Coach Logan Mann. "I give credit to our players for bouncing back and playing a competitive second game."
In game one, Virginia State (10-7) moved ahead of Southern Virginia (11-7) with an early four-run lead through one complete, putting up the first crooked number on the scoreboard on four hits in the bottom half of the inning.
The Trojans added another score in the bottom of the fifth as Joshua Markins singled in teammate Percy Evans followed by two more insurance runs in the sixth inning with Vernon Vaughan and Nicholas Christopher crossing home plate on route to the seven-run victory.
The Knights' best chances of bringing in a run were in the fourth and seventh innings as outfielders Dale Brown (Mesa, Ariz.) and Mitchell Mantle (St. George, Utah) each reached third base respectively; however, both remained stranded.
Brown, senior first baseman Trager Hintze (Purcell. Okla.) and senior outfielder Robert Key (Flower Mound, Texas) each went 1-for-3 for Southern Virginia's three hits of the ballgame, including Brown's team-high eighth stolen base of the season.
Junior shortstop Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.)—who was recently selected to play for the Rockbridge Rapids this summer—went 0-for-3 in the loss to end an impressive 20-game hitting streak, dating back to April 14, 2012.
Virginia State's starting pitcher David Fitzgerald pitched a complete-game, four-strikeout shutout while allowing three hits through 7.0 innings.
Southern Virginia righty Thomas Rudd (Edmond, Okla.) moved to 3-1 for his first loss of 2013 followed by freshman reliever Scott Austin (Glendale, Ariz.) going a solid 4.2 innings with four strikeouts, allowing one earned run on eight hits.
The second contest began with the Trojans striking first on an Evans run in the second before the Knights took their first lead of the day scoring three runs in the top of the third, highlighted by a two-RBI double to deep right field from senior catcher Barrett Price (Georgetown, S.C.)—Price leads the squad with 21 RBIs so far this season.
Virginia State evened the score 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning with Vaughan and Christopher each touching home plate.
The Trojans then took a four-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning as Jonathan Abbott doubled in William Tapp and John McCarty before Christopher added a triple to deep center to bring in Corey Grant and Abbott.
Southern Virginia began a rally in the top of the seventh with freshman Austen Hammond (Fayetteville, Ga.) recording an RBI-single to left field then later scoring on an error to second base. Soon after, the Knights pulled to within one as Price knocked in fellow-senior Hintze on his second double of the game to center field.
Southern Virginia's comeback was cut short, however, as junior Giovanni Prado (West Valley City, Utah) flied out to left field for the final out of the competition.
Stevenson had a solid offensive outing going 3-for-4, scoring two runs with a double and a stolen base while Price finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in the loss on the road.
Virginia State starter Brandon Cooper (1-0) earned the victory on the mound allowing five runs on nine hits through 6.2 innings. Junior lefty Tyler King (San Ramon, Calif.) was handed the loss in his two-thirds inning of work.
Baseball returns home to Casey Field in Covington, Va., on Mar. 19 to face fellow USCAA-opponent Christendom College in a two-game set starting at 5 p.m.
Watch live video as the Knights take on the Crusaders.