#3 CNU Slips Past Averett Behind Shoemaker Blast, 5-4
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The third ranked CNU baseball team trailed, 4-3, with two outs in the bottom of the eighth today, but senior Matt Shoemaker connected on a go-ahead two-run blast to left field for the game-winning hit. The Captains (22-4, 8-2) beat Averett University (20-15, 5-7), 5-4, when Ryan Fleischmann pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his 13th career save, becoming the Captains' all-time leader.
Averett starter Cody Moore was saddled with the loss after pitching a complete-game for the Cougars. He held the Captains to just three runs and scattered six hits over the first seven innings of work. In the eighth, though, with a 4-3 lead, the Captains' All-Americans showed up in a big way.
With one out, senior left fielder Connor Madden, a Preseason All-American, singled to right field. After another out, Shoemaker, also a Preseason All-American, came to the plate in the big spot, homering an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for the lead.
CNU then was just three outs shy of the win and head coach John Harvell turned to Fleischmann. The junior right-hander came into the game tied for the all-time lead in saves with 12, and with a perfect ninth inning, is now the all-time leader.
Earlier in the game, Averett took a 1-0 lead with an RBI single from Moore in the first. The Captains pulled even with an RBI single from Luke Saunders in the fourth, and then took the lead with a long two-run homer by designated hitter Christopher McDougal in the fifth.
The Cougars tied things back up in the top of the sixth with an RBI single from Matt Mitchell and a double by Jordan Kidd. Averett teetered back into the lead with a sacrifice bunt by Jason Carter in the top of the seventh inning.
Both teams went quietly in the next half innings, setting up the dramatic clutch homer by Shoemaker in the bottom of the eigth. Junior Richard Lindsay picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth.
CNU will have a home game against the Apprentice School on Wednesday at 3:00 pm before hitting the road for four straight games, including the final conference set against Shenandoah University next weekend.