BURLINGTON, N.C. – No. 4/4 Christopher Newport earned will have two chances to win the 2011 USA South Conference baseball Tournament after upsetting No. 1/1 Shenandoah 10-4 Friday evening at Burlington Athletic Stadium.
The Captains (34-4) scored one run each in the second and third and two runs in the fourth to take the early lead over Shenandoah (30-3).
The Hornets answered that two-run CNU fourth with a pair of their own in the bottom of the frame thanks to two walks and a Mike Smith bases-clearing triple to dead center.
In the fifth, senior All-America Greg Van Sickler brought SU to within one by driving in Kevin Brashears with a single to left.
Brashears had reached on an error and moved to second on a groundout to short.
Shenandoah appeared to be in great position to tie the contest in the eighth when Van Sickler led off with a double to left, but he was stranded there as CNU reliever Matt Verdillo got out of it with a groundout, a strikeout and a pop-out to second.
The wheels came completely off in the ninth, as Christopher Newport sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs on three SU pitchers.
Steven Lindemuth and Matt Shoemaker both had two RBIs in that ninth-inning outburst – Lindemuth had a single through the left side and Shoemaker had a triple into the right-center gap.
The Captains had 14 hits with Connor Madden going 3 for 5 with three RBI and four other players getting two hits each.
Van Sickler paced SU with a 2 for 3 evening that included the RBI single.
Bryan Bierlein (5-0) went 6.0 innings for the victory. He struck out four and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks.
Vince Claudio (2-1) allowed four runs on six hits and one walk in 3 1/3. He struck out five.