By Daniel Whitehead
SALEM, Va.—Hoping to pick up a win following an eight-game losing skid, the Southern Virginia University baseball team was defeated at Roanoke College by a 20-5 score Thursday evening at Kiwanis Park in Salem, Va.
The Knights (5-23) used four different pitchers during the game hoping to stop the Maroon batters, but the Roanoke slugging staff combined for 20 hits and 15 earned runs and was walked five times throughout the game en route to the win. Southern Virginia struck out six batters, but the Maroons also managed three home runs in the victory.
Southern Virginia got off to a quick start, earning two runs in the top of the opening frame. Hunter Allen got on by way of a walk before Ryan Gabriel singled to advance him to second. Facing two outs, senior Tyler King singled to left field to advance Gabriel and Allen to second and third bases. CJ Andrus came up clutch with a two-RBI single to left field that scored Allen and Gabriel before King was run down at second following aggressive base running to end the inning.
Roanoke quickly evened the score at two apiece in the bottom of the first before getting hot in consecutive innings and scoring two, three and five runs, respectively, in frames two through four to lift the Maroons to an insurmountable 12-2 advantage.
The Knights would make a comeback effort in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on two hits. Justin Cooper was hit by a pitch to get on base before Keenan Johnson fouled out to first base and Allen struck out looking. Facing a two-out situation, Gabriel doubled to center field for an RBI to bring in Cooper. Freshman Zach McNally then singled to the shortstop to score Gabriel from second and earn an RBI for the night.
Roanoke scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and went on to score seven unanswered runs to finish the game with a 20-4 victory.
Zach Hamilton earned the win for Roanoke as he did five innings of work, allowing just five hits and four earned runs while walking two and striking out one. Four other Maroons pitched one inning apiece.
Mitch Mantle picked up the loss for the Knights as he pitched two innings and allowed five hits and seven runs while striking out one batter.
The Knights travel to Lynchburg College for another non-conference matchup Friday afternoon. The first toss takes place at 3 p.m. at Fox Field in Lynchburg, Va.