BUENA VISTA, Va. – The Southern Virginia University baseball team finished the 2017 season with 12 wins, a three-win improvement from 2016.
"Overall I thought we improved from the previous year, and played really well at times" said head coach Logan Mann. "The focus moving forward is to play consistent baseball every day over the course of the entire season."
In Capital Athletic Conference play the Knights swept Wesley and stole games from May Washington and St. Mary's (Md.). Non-conference wins came against William Peace, Penn St.-Mont Alto, Moravian, and John Jay. Southern Virginia also topped ODAC opponents Washington & Lee and Roanoke, who matched up in the championship games of the ODAC tournament with Roanoke winning 9-6 and 4-3.
Cole Critchfield (Star Valley, Wyo.) and Riley Daniels (Spanish Fork, Utah) were two newcomers with a huge impact on the season. Critchfield had the fourth-best batting average in the CAC, hitting .390 with 57 hits, including 12 doubles. Daniels crushed eight homeruns during the season, and was solid defensively, and on the mound. Both players recorded 28 RBIs this year.
Junior Ryan Saunders (Christiansburg, Va.) led off for the Knights all year, and was the only other player to have over 50 hits. He also had 12 doubles and three homers.
The seniors also had a big year for the Knights. Catcher Jordan Keefer (West Jordan, Utah) had the best season of his career with a .299 batting average, 29 RBIs and six homeruns. He also threw out a career-high 25 runners attempting to steal.
Senior Zach McNally (Salem, Va.) had the best performance in his four-year career, driving in a team-high 37 runs, and scoring 28. He shelled a pair of homers and had 41 hits.
Josh Hilburn (Granite Bay, Calif.) ended his final season with a team-high 13 stolen bases. Senior left-hander Justin King (San Ramon, Calif.) recorded 29 strikeouts and save in 48.1 innings pitched. Hilburn batted .250 with 35 hits while King knocked 21 hits and a .256 average.
Crosby Jensen (Sandy, Utah) was unable to play most of his senior season due to injury.
The Knights will return a number of players for 2018, including pitchers Tayler Peterson (Salem Hills, Utah), Seth Burris (Galax, Va.), and Jonathan Hodges (Cleveland, Tenn.). Peterson recorded four wins this season, while Burris and Hodges each had a pair.
"The next step for us is to qualify for the CAC tournament and be over .500 as a ball club," Mann concluded. "We feel we have a really good recruiting class for next year and are very excited to see how our players compete."