By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Looking to continue a successful start to Capital Athletic Conference play, the Southern Virginia University baseball team split a twinbill with St. Mary's (Md.), 1-11 and 14-10, Saturday afternoon at Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista, Va.
Knight batters struggled to bring in runners during the first game, managing just nine hits with 10 strikeouts, leaving 13 runners on base. The second game proved to be much more successful for Southern Virginia as the Knights earned 11 hits in 37 at-bats for 12 RBI as eight were walked and only four struck out. The Knights left just nine stranded at the end of innings as more were pushed to home plate thoughout the second game.
"It was great to see us bounce back from a bad loss to open the series and come in re-focused for the second game," said Southern Virginia head coach Logan Mann. "We got down early again, but we stayed mentally tough and hung in there. Gage Bigelow did a great job pitching in the second game and Hunter Allen was a consistent hitter all day."
Through 1.5 innings of the first game, the Seahawks jumped to a 5-0 lead before the Knights scored their sole run of the first game at the bottom of the second. Ryan Gabriel got it started by doubling through the left side. Advancing to third off a fielder's choice, he was scored when Keenan Johnson earned his own double to the left side. With runners on second and third, two Knights were struck out before C.J. Andrus flied out to right field, leaving Johnson and Hunter Allen stranded.
Down 6-1 through six innings, the Seahawks exploded for five runs in the seventh to build an insurmountable lead as they went on to earn the 11-1 victory. Sam Beatty won the game for St. Mary's while senior Tyler King was pinned with the loss for the Knights.
The Seahawks appeared poised for a similar outcome in the second game as they jumped to a 3-0 after two innings and 6-0 before the bottom of the fourth. However, Southern Virginia answered with six runs in the fourth to knot the score up heading into the fifth.
Gabriel and Jordan Keefer started the inning off with singles before Allen singled to left to score Gabriel. Gage Bigelow reached on a fielder's choice to score Keefer from third. Andrus then singled through the left side to score Allen. Justin Cooper doubled through the right side to bring in two runs as Andrus and Bigelow crossed the plate. With King up to bat, Cooper scored on an error by the second baseman that allowed King to reach first.
After seven innings, the Knights again found themselves in the deficit, 8-7, but the bats came alive again in the eighth for Southern Virginia when they scored seven runs on four hits to go up 14-7.
St. Mary's would score two more runs in the ninth, but the Southern Virginia defense held tight as Andrus took a line drive at short stop before Bigelow had a quick reaction for a second put out that nearly knocked him off the mound. Andrus then assisted the final out to give the Knights a 14-10 victory
Southern Virginia takes a quick step out of conference for a single game at Washington & Lee Tuesday afternoon. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Lexington, Va.