by Wesley Evans
LEXINGTON, Va.—Scoring 43 runs over a span of two games, the Southern Virginia University baseball team routed Penn St.-Harrisburg University in a twinbill sweep by scores of 20-4 and 23-12, Saturday afternoon at Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, Virginia, on Senior Day.
In the two contests, the Knights set season-highs in a game for runs scored (23), hits (25) and RBI (22), en route to victories in their final home games of the season.
Between games, seniors Bradley Jackson, Chris Madison, Giovanni Prado and CJ Andrus were honored for the contributions they have made to the Southern Virginia baseball program throughout their careers.
In the first matchup, things got off to a shaky start for the Knights as Penn St.-Harrisburg put up three quick runs in the top of the first off Knight starter Chris Madison.
It didn't take long for the senior pitcher to settle down and the Southern Virginia offense to get started as it scored eight runs in the first two innings of play.
Both teams were then held scoreless for three-and-a-half innings before the Southern Virginia bats again came alive again in the bottom of the sixth inning as they put up two more runs on the the board to take a 10-3 lead.
The Knights' big inning came in the bottom of the seventh as they tallied up six more runs, increasing its lead to 16-3. A highlight in the inning featured Jackson—who batted for the first time time this season as he is generally used solely as a pitcher—getting a two-RBI single to the right side, bringing in Hildebrandt and Kaleb Caplin.
Southern Virginia (8-17, 6-12 CAC) found four more insurance runs in the very next inning, which included a three-run homer by left fielder Ryan Saunders—his first of the season.
Madison (2-3) earned the win for the Knights as he was relieved in the top of the eighth inning by Colin Bigelow. The senior from Crozet, Virginia, was received by cheers from the crowd and hugs from teammates as he walked off the field in his final home games. Madison pitched seven strong innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out four.
Fellow seniors Andrus and Prado had good games at the plate, going 3-for-7 and 2-for-5 respectively, while scoring three runs for the Knights.
The second contest again saw Penn St.-Harrisburg take a quick lead in the top of the first, as it tallied two runs off Jackson, who started game two for Southern Virginia.
It was not enough, however, as the Knight offense picked up right it left off in game one.
Southern Virginia put up eight runs in the bottom of the first inning—highlighted by a three run homer to right field by Prado, his fifth of the season.
The Lions tacked on two more runs in the third to cut its deficit to 8-4, but could not keep pace with the Knights who put up a run in the bottom of the third, then exploded for eight more runs in the fifth.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Southern Virginia found five more runs—two coming from Madison who had his first at-bat of the season as well. Stepping up to the plate, Madison hit a line drive over the second baseman's head, scoring Hildebrandt and Fenn.
Penn St.-Harrisburg (5-20, 2-15 CAC) was forced to use five different pitchers in the game as the Knghts tallied 20 hits for the contest.
The visitors put up five runs in the eighth inning, but then the game was called due to darkness, making the final 23-12 score official.
Jackson (4-3), a senior, earned the win for Southern Virginia, striking out a season-high eight batters in 7.2 innings pitched.
Prado tallied five RBI for the Knights as he went 4-for-4 from the plate.
Baseball is off for three days before it plays its final game of the season in a nonconference matchup at Lynchburg College next Wednesday. The first pitch is slated for 3 p.m. in Lynchburg, Virginia.