Lindemuth Blast Leads CNU Past Shenandoah in USA South Tournament, 5-3
BURLINGTON, N.C. – A two-out, two-run go-ahead home run off the bat of CNU senior Steven Lindemuth in the 8th inning proved to be the gamewinner as the Captains held on to beat second-seeded Shenandoah University (25-9) today, 5-3. Top-seeded Christopher Newport (28-6) will advance to play in Sunday's USA South Conference Tournament Championship while the Hornets will play in an elimination game at 7:00 pm tonight, against the winner of the #4 Methodist/#6 Averett.
Shenandoah led, 3-2, with just four outs to go when senior Matt Shoemaker stepped in for the Captains. The second baseman reached on a hit-by-pitch bringing up the Captains senior right fielder Steven Lindemuth. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Lindemuth lofted a long fly ball to left field, clearing the fence with a clutch two-out, two-run homer that gave CNU a 4-3 lead in the eighth.
CNU then went to their lefty reliever, Matt Verdillo for two innings of work. Verdillo pitched 2.2 innings to get the win against Ferrum on Thursday night, and on Saturday, the Captains setup man picked up a save. He struck out a pair, including the final batter of the game with the game-tying run at second base.
In the ninth, Luke Saunders tacked on an insurance run when the Captains executed a hit-and-run with runners at the corners. Shannon Mark scored from third base after a lead-off double, moving up on a single by Connor Madden.
Shenandoah threatened in the bottom of the ninth, getting back-to-back one-out singles, including a shot to right field from Nick Beall after a 12-pitch at-bat. A Tucker Brown groundout to first base moved the runners up putting the game-tying run in scoring position for third baseman Dan Powers, but the Hornets third baseman struck out to end the game.
Shenandoah led twice earlier in the game, 2-1 and 3-2, behind a pair of home runs. In the bottom of the second, catcher Tucker Brown blasted one over the left field wall with a runner at second to take a 2-1 lead, and in the sixth, right fielder Joey Donofrio hit a lead-off solo shot to right, giving the Hornets a 3-2 edge.
Steven Keener homered to left center and Connor Madden singled in a run in the third to account for CNU's first two runs.
Sophomore Nick Santalucia (5-0) earned the win for the Captains, after seven inning of work giving up six hits and striking out five. Cory Nelson (4-4) picked up the loss despite holding CNU to four earned in 7.2 innings of work.
Madden was 3-5 for CNU with an RBI, while Lindemuth shrugged off a 1-11 tournament with one swing of the bat, finishing 2-5 with two RBI and a run scored with the game-winning homer. Keener and Saunders each added two-hit days for CNU. The Hornets got eight hits from seven different batters, as Beall led the way with a 2-3 effort.
The Captains will advance to the 2012 USA South Championship game, played at Noon on Sunday, April 15.