By Wesley Evans
BUENA VISTA, Va.—The Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped both games to 17th-ranked Salisbury University in a twinbill, 8-5 and 12-5, Saturday afternoon for Senior Day at Parry McCluer High School.
Despite leading 4-1 through seven innings in game one, and a stellar performance by starting pitcher Colin Bigelow, the Knights were unable to secure a victory over the Sea Gulls.
After a scoreless first inning by both squads, the home team took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second off a Mantle RBI single up the middle, scoring shortstop CJ Andrus.
Southern Virginia's bats came to life again in the bottom half of the fourth against Sea Gull starting pitcher Brett Collacchi. Mantle did work at the plate once again, starting things off with a double down the right field line before freshman Andrew Price reached on a fielder's choice.
Price grounded to the third baseman, who tried to get Mantle at second, but was unsuccessful. A wild pitch on the next play advanced both runners into scoring position. After a Jordan Keefer strikeout, freshman outfielder Hunter Allen came up with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single, putting the Knights up 3-0.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Southern Virginia put up another run on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the sixth. Price double to right centerfield, then advanced to third on a Keefer sacrifice bunt before Allen delivered again with an RBI single to the left side.
Salisbury (23-7, 11-5 CAC) answered with a run of its own in the top of the seventh off a Pete Grasso sacrifice fly, scoring the designated hitter Kyle Goodwin.
Southern Virginia (5-21) was unable to score in the bottom of the seventh, and a six-run eighth inning for Salisbury would be too much for the Knights to overcome. The Seagulls loaded the bases after two singles and a walk off Bigelow before the Provo, Utah, native was pulled for relief pitcher Gage Bigelow.
The next hitter, Sam Myers, doubled down the right field line, scoring two runs before two more crossed the plate off an error by the Knight third baseman. A two-out, two-RBI single by No. 3 hitter Quentin Griffith put Salisbury up, 7-4.
The visiting team put one more across the board in the top of the ninth off a Myers single to right centerfield. Southern Virginia answered in the bottom of the ninth as Mantle delivered an RBI single scoring King, but it wasn't enough as Price and Nick Lyons both struck out to end the game.
Collacchi earned the win for Salisbury, giving up four runs on 10 hits while walking two and striking out seven. Relief pitcher Kyle Hamby picked up his sixth save of the season for the Seagulls.
G. Bigelow took the loss in the decision, giving up four runs on three hits while striking out two.
Baseball will have three days of rest before traveling to Eastern Mennonite University next Wednesday. The Knights will look to avenge a 9-5 loss to the Royals on Thursday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 pm.