Written by Sean Dahlin
BUTLER, Pa.—In its 2013 season finale, the Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped a close 2-1 battle on Tuesday to No. 10-seed Pennsylvania College of Technology eliminating the Knights from the USCAA Small College World Series.
"It was a tight game and we had our chances, but were unfortunately unable to come away with the win," said fourth-year Head Coach Logan Mann, baseball's all-time winningest coach with an 87-65 record. "I'm proud of each of our players for having a solid season and for earning a trip to the national tournament. Our seniors, that have been a large part of our program's success these past four years, will be missed and hard to replace."
With bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Southern Virginia (18-16) was in scoring position before Penn College's (23-16) starter on the mound Craig Watson rolled a double play ball on route to the one-run victory.
The Knights' junior third baseman Giovanni Prado (West Valley City, Utah), who went 2-for-3 on the day, started the seventh inning with a single up the middle before being moved to third after teammate C.J. Andrus (Federal Way, Wash.) was walked and senior Robert Key (Flower Mound, Texas) laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Southern Virginia got on the scoreboard first by plating the first run in the pitcher's duel when Stevenson singled through the left side of the infield to bring home Andrus in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth, the Wildcats evened the score at 1-1 on an RBI-double by Travis Hende to bring in Zachary Weil followed by a RBI-sacrifice fly from Weil in the fifth inning to give the No. 10-seed the advantage.
Penn College's Watson (3-0) and Knights starter sophomore Thomas Rudd (Norman, Okla.) each went the distance while allowing an identical seven hits and one earned run. Rudd (3-3), who finished the season with a team-leading 43.0 innings pitched, struck out two batters and walked another.
Stevenson went 1-for-3 and recorded the team's lone RBI on Tuesday. His .478 final season batting average ranks second in the program's 14-year history behind Jake Johnson's .504 mark in 2011.
"Having reached our fourth straight USCAA World Series, I'm happy with the 2013 team's accomplishments and with the direction the baseball program is going," said Mann.
Seniors Dale Brown (Mesa, Ariz.), Cox, Ed Greenhalgh (Roy, Utah), Trager Hintze (Purcell, Okla.), Key and Price ended their standout careers as the winningest class in Southern Virginia baseball with 87 wins in the last four years.
With Tuesday's loss, the Knights finish with the fourth-most wins in baseball's 14 years along with the second-highest team batting average (.337) and second-lowest team ERA (4.93) in university history.