By Nick Porter
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Southern Virginia University baseball team dropped a 12-11 thriller in the first game of the Capital Athletic Conference baseball tournament to No. 3 seeded Penn St.-Harrisburg Friday morning on the campus of Christopher Newport University.
The Lions (29-10) got on the board first inning, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and leaving three runners on base. After Southern Virginia (18-17) was able to get its first hits of the game with no runs in the third, the Knights were able to capitalize on a walk and hit by pitch to score on a Caleb Layden sacrifice fly.
Scoring continued for the Knights in the fifth inning, bringing across four runs on four hits. Stetson Kay led off the inning with a walk, followed by a Ryan Saunders double setting up a Jonathan Soto RBI single. Saunders then scored on a Cole Critchfield single, before a Canon Anderson single scored Soto and Critchfield scored on a first-and-third double steal.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Knights had their three-run lead erased with an eight-run, eight-hit frame by the Lions. Amidst the runs, a throwing error by the Knights extended the inning and led to three unearned runs.
Another Penn St.-Harrisburg run in the seventh game the Lions an 11-5 advantage, but the Knights had an answer in the top of the eighth, knotting the game up at 11.
Senior catcher Jordan Keefer led off the inning with a single to right center. Dylan Boyce pinch ran for Keefer, advancing to second on a Stetson Kay single and to third on a Ryan Saunders hit. Soto then brought Boyce and Kay home on a single down the left-field line.
A Critchfield single then set up a two-RBI opportunity for Bridger Taylor, who doubled to left center. Anderson doubled next for the Knights, scoring Critchfield. After Layden walked, Brady Lamb pinch hit for Boyce in the second at-bat in the number seven spot. Lamb was hit by a pitch, bringing across Taylor for the eighth run of the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Lions were able to score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The runner on second was thrown out at third base, but not before scoring the game-winning run. The Knights went down in order in the top of the ninth.
The teams combined for 33 hits. Saunders and Anderson each had three for the Knights.
With the loss, Southern Virginia will face nationally-ranked Christopher Newport in game two of the playoffs at 12:35 p.m.