By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va—A five-run ninth-inning rally to come back from a 9-0 deficit came up short as the Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped a non-conference matchup with Eastern Mennonite University, 9-5, Thursday evening at Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista, Va.
A close 2-0 score after five innings, the Royals scored three runs in the eighth and four in the top of the ninth to build an insurmountable lead with three outs remaining.
In the bottom of the ninth, senior Tyler King got on base with a single to the pitcher before Zach McNally singled to right center. A Jack Stanton single to center advanced King and McNally to scoring position. Freshman Justin Cooper then singled to center to score King and advance the runners. A Jordan Keefer single to right field scored pinch runner Taylor Pacheco and forced a pitching change for the Royals.
CJ Andrus was walked to bring in Stanton before a Ryan Gabriel single scored Cooper from third and forced another EMU pitching change. Hunter Allen grounded into a double play to score Keefer as the Knights' final run of the evening.
For the game, King and McNally both went 3-4 from the plate to lead the Knights' offensive efforts. Keefer, Gabriel and Mantle each had two hits for the outing. Cooper earned one of the team's RBI along with Keefer and Gabriel.
Jacob Brown earned the win on the mound for the Royals in six innings pitching, allowing nine hits and fanning two Knights. Knight pitcher Mitch Mantle dropped to 1-1 on the year with his loss.
The Knights return to action Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader against Capital Athletic Conference foe Salisbury. As the final home game of the year, the twinbill also commemorates Senior Day for Knights Tyler King and Mitch Mantle.