By Sam Armstrong
BUENA VISTA, Va. – The Southern Virginia University baseball team was down 9-5 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but they rallied to come away with a 10-9 win over SUNY-Canton on a chilly Friday afternoon at Parry McCluer High School.
Down 9-7 in the ninth with one out and runners on second and third, first baseman Cole Critchfield stepped up to the plate and blasted a three-run walk-off homer to the right field corner to give the Knights (7-7) the win. Critchfield finished the game with three hits, four RBIs, and two runs scored.
"I was just trying to stay focused, clear my head, and not do too much up there," Critchfield said of his at-bat. "I just wanted to get a base-hit to bring the runners on second and third in to tie the game, but what ended up happening was great too."
The last-minute rally began with Riley Daniels drawing a walk and Nate McCallum getting hit by a pitch to set the table for the top of the lineup. Caleb Layden then hit a single to center field to bring Daniels in, and Stetson Kay doubled to left field to score McCallum and make it a two-run ballgame.
Southern Virginia got off to a quick start in the game by scoring two runs in the first inning, but was unable score any more until the seventh. While the Knights were struggling at the plate, the Kangaroos (0-4) scored eight unanswered runs to take a six-run lead.
The Knights started their comeback in the seventh as Ryan Saunders scored on an error. Saunders was the one picking up the RBI in the eighth inning on a single, after which Brady lamb hit an RBI double to left.
"The seventh, eighth, and ninth innings are the most crucial, and if you can bring it those last three innings, it really shows the character of your team," said assistant coach Tyler Cox after the game. "That's what we did tonight, and I think we showed just how scrappy and talented we are."
Senior Tayler Peterson started on the mound for the Knights, going five and two-thirds innings and giving up five earned runs. Jonathan Hodges picked up the win, allowing no hits and striking out one in one and two-thirds innings.
The Knights have a quick turnaround as they play the second game against SUNY-Canton tomorrow. The game is slated to start at 10:30 a.m. at Parry McCluer High School.