Baseball splits home opening series 1-1 with Piedmont (Ga.) and Roanoke
After a season spent in large parts at the top of the DIII college rankings in 2019, 2020 has not been what the baseball team would’ve hoped for so far.
A split series is not what the Captains wanted from their opening weekend at home. After splitting the season opening series against Ferrum the stage was set for the Captains Baseball team to come home and get things back on track.
It looked as though they could do just that on the weekend as they won the first game against Piedmont College (Ga.). Unfortunately for Christopher Newport, Roanoke College proved to be too strong as they won a nail biter by scoring two runs in the ninth inning to take the lead back from the Captains and steal the win.
The game against the Piedmont College (Ga.) Lions started off with a bang for the Captains. Within the first inning Freshman #23 Connor Pennell had already made a solid first impression with two quick strikeouts.
After the two strikeout Pennell gave up a double but quickly snuffed out any danger as the very next batter grounded out to end the top of the first inning. The bottom of the inning saw the Captains offense come to life as a leadoff single from #1 Connor Clark, a sacrifice bunt from another Freshman in #3 Jonathan Fisher and finally a RBI single from #7 Trey Hicks got the scoring started.
The second inning saw both sides get dominated by the pitching staff as both the Lions and Captains went down in order. In the third inning #23 Connor Pennell got into some trouble as he loaded the bases with only one out. A stellar breaking ball got him out of trouble as the Lions’ #4 Tyler Sheley hit a ground ball straight to Pennell which turned into an inning ending double play involving Catcher #5 Eric O’Brien and First Basemen #29 Evan Baer.
Pennell managed to throw five shutout innings in his collegiate debut striking out six and only walking one. Due to more stellar pitching from both sides, the game remained quiet until the top of the sixth inning when the Lions were able to tie things up off a sacrifice fly from #13 Duke Wodetzki. The game didn’t stay level long as in the bottom of the sixth the Captains were able to bat around and put six more runs on the board.
The sixth inning theatrics by the Captains was highlighted by small ball tactics with a sacrifice bunt, a normal bunt, several singles and a walk. The Captains would take this lead all the way and after a few more runs from both sides towards the end of the game they would win it with #10 Gray Goodrich picking up the win.
On day two of the home opening series, the Captains went on to play the Maroons of Roanoke College. The game remained tight through all nine innings, but the Captains looked like they were going to take home the win with a tight 4-3 lead in the ninth. Senior #34 Andrew Supah was set to close the game out, but gave up two runs in the ninth. The runs came for Roanoke off the bat of #7 Mason Staz with a two run single to deep center field. The Captains could not recover to take the lead back in the bottom of the ninth and would split the games on the weekend.
Baer was one of the Captains’ stand out performers on the day with three runs batted in off a walk and a double against the Maroons. Along with Baer, O’Brien knocked a run of his own in with a single to center field.
The loss brought the Captains’ record to 2-2. The Captains were back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 28, against Hampden-Sydney College. For a recap of the game on Tuesday, Feb. 18, as well as all Captains Baseball, go to CNUSports.com.
~Michael Innacelli, Sports Editor & Managing CNUTV Director~