By Laura Tome
BUENA VISTA, Va.—The Southern Virginia University baseball team finished its inaugural season in the Capital Athletic Conference 5-26 overall and 4-13 in the CAC.
As first-year members of the league, the Knights showed well and earned their first CAC sweep against Penn State Harrisburg on March 15.
Despite losing to all but two CAC foes, the Knights battled until the end falling within four runs of a victory against Marymount, Wesley, Christopher Newport and No. 17 Salisbury.
Freshman catcher Ryan Gabriel led the young Knight squad with a .330 batting average, 38 hits, 21 RBI, 17 doubles, one triple, two homeruns and two stolen bases. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native finished the season ranked 20th in the CAC for fielding after allowing only three passed balls and tallying 100 putouts and 31 assists.
Sophomore shortstop C.J. Andrus trailed closely with a .304 batting average, .391 on-base percentage, had the team's fourth most RBI with 15 in addition to34 hits. He also had the second most stolen bases with five and led the Knights in assists with 82.
Senior centerfielder Mitch Mantle had the third best batting average of .303, a .330 on-base percentage and a .374 slugging percent. A native of St. George, Utah, he tallied five doubles, one triple, the second most RBI (20) and the most stolen bases with 10. Mantle finished the season ranked 38th in the CAC fielding polls with 71 put outs, one error and a .987 fielding percentage.
Freshman Hunter Allen tied senior Tyler King for the fourth best batting average of .280. He had a .369 on -base percentage, 30 hits, 18 RBI, one stolen base, two doubles and a .962 fielding percentage, which earned him a 37th-place ranking in the league. King earned 26 hits, three doubles, and nine RBI.
The Knights' 11 man-pitching roster earned a 6.85 earned run average and 157 strikeouts. King led with a 4.54 earned run average and 36 strikeouts after 75.1 innings on the mound. Behind King was Colin Bigelow with a 5.74 earned run average and 34 strikeouts after 42.1 innings on the mound. After 47.1 innings, Chris Madison tallied 31 strikeouts and an 8.56 earned run average.
Joining Gabriel, Mantle and Allen are first baseman Nick Lyons, second baseman Zach McNally and third baseman Jordan Keefer. Lyons ranked 16th in the CAC with 137 putouts, 15 assists and a .909 fielding percentage. McNally finished ranking 25th with 91 put outs, 21 assists and a .933 fielding percentage. Keefer ranked 32nd with 80 put outs and 50 assists along with a .949 fielding percentage.
The Knights will look to learn from its inaugural season in the CAC and return ready to battle at the plate in 2015.