Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Despite a season-high three hits from senior catcher Barrett Price (Georgetown, S.C.), the Southern Virginia University baseball team suffered a 12-5 loss on Wednesday's Senior Night to ODAC-affiliate Eastern Mennonite University.
"Although we weren't able to come out with the win tonight, our six seniors have had outstanding seasons and careers at Southern Virginia [University]," said fourth-year Head Coach Logan Mann. "I'm proud to have been able to coach a great group of seniors, including Tyler [Cox], Ed [Greenhalgh] and Trager [Hintze] who enjoyed four straight .500-plus win seasons."
Southern Virginia's six seniors—Dale Brown (Mesa, Ariz.), Tyler Cox (Forest, Miss.), Ed Greenhalgh (Roy, Utah), Trager Hintze (Purcell, Okla.), Robert Key (Flower Mound, Texas) and Price—were all honored prior to the first pitch in commemoration of Senior Night in their final home game as Knights.
Additionally, Cox, Greenhalgh and Hintze have participated on successive squads (2010-13) that have achieved a .500-record season or better in each of the past four years—a first in the program's 14-year history.
Eastern Mennonite (15-21) jumped on the board first in the top of the second inning as Justin Rodriguez singled home Kyle Armstrong before Southern Virginia (18-14) evened the score 1-1 on a Cox single up the middle to bring home Key in the bottom of the third.
From that point, the Royals scored 11 unanswered throughout the next four frames while holding the Knights scoreless until the ninth. Eastern Mennonite tacked on three runs in the top of the fourth highlighted by a two-RBI single past the shortstop from Adam Posey.
After a Royals run in the fifth inning, four more scores were added in the top of the sixth on Posey's run-scoring double through the left side followed by RBI-singles from teammates Ryan McAlister, Jonathan Estrada and Armstrong.
The final three runs of the evening for Eastern Mennonite came in the top of the seventh as Posey brought home Rodriguez on a sacrifice fly to right field for his fourth RBI of the game while Brian Vinniski and Phillip Jordan touched home plate to round out the inning.
In an attempted comeback for the Knights in the bottom of the ninth, Key got things going with a two-RBI single to left field.
Freshman Tyler Clark (Idaho Falls, Idaho), who went 2-for-4 from the plate and stole his 10th base of the season, continued the rally with a run-scoring single to knock in Key capped by an RBI-single from Cox to cut the deficit to 12-5 before Brown struck out swinging for the final out of the contest.
Cox and junior shortstop Mitch Stevenson (Muskogee, Okla.) each finished 2-for-5 while Cox recorded two RBIs in the loss.
The Royals' starter Ryan Tierney (1-0) earned his first win of the year in eight-plus innings of two earned-run, seven hit ball. Junior right-hander Mitchell Mantle (St. George, Utah) took the loss to move to 1-2 on the year after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings of relief.
Of the nine Southern Virginia base runners left on-base Wednesday night, five were stranded in scoring position.
Baseball, with an 18-14 record throughout the regular season, will now wait for the announcement on Fri., Apr. 26, to see if it earns a bid to the USCAA Small College World Series at Pullman Park in Butler, Penn.