Late Game Heroics Lead to CNU's First Win of 2017; Captains Drop Methodist, 12-10

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DEMOREST, Ga. -- With six runs in the final two innings, the Christopher Newport baseball team secured its first win of 2017 with a come-from-behind effort against Methodist University (2-3). The Captains (1-2) finished off their appearance in the Piedmont College Early Spring Classic with a 12-10 win over the Monarchs, led by an impressive performance from the sophomore class.

The second-year quartet of Jordan Mason, Austin Henry, Nicholas Baham, and Joseph Cutchins combined for 11 hits on Sunday, while driving in seven runs and scoring five times. Baham wrapped up a dominating weekend at the plate with a .533 average (8-15) with four extra-base hits, six RBI and five runs scored. 

Facing the team's former conference rival from Methodist University, the Captains fell behind three different times during the game, but showed resilience at the plate before coming up with the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth inning. 

Facing a 9-6 deficit with just six outs remaining, the Captains got to work in the top of the 8th. Craig Johnson started things off with a single, and moved up to second on a single by Cutchins.  Back-to-back RBI knocks from Mason and Henry cut the lead to just one, 9-8, heading into the bottom of the inning. CNU then called on junior Joe Burris to keep it close, and he promptly worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning to get the offense back to the plate. Burris got a groundball to start the inning and then struck out a pair. 

CNU entered the ninth inning with momentum on their side, and their hottest hitter leading off at the plate. Baham came through, delivering a lead-off single to represent the game-tying run. After Josh Moore put down a picture-perfect sacrifice bunt, Baham moved into scoring position with just one out. J.T. Bellotti came on to pinch run for Baham, and raced home as the very next batter, Johnson, delivered an RBI single to tie the game. The Captains weren't finished, as senior A.J. Nicely then smashed a go-ahead triple to plate Johnson, and then came home to score the eventual game-winning run on a single by Cutchins.  CNU tacked on a fourth and final run in the inning for insurance, when Austin Henry singled home Cutchins two batters later. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Burris stayed in to try and lock up his first win of the year. He struck out the first batter, and quickly got the second out with a fly ball to center field. Methodist threatened with a walk, and back-to-back singles to plate a run, but Burris bared down and worked his fourth strikeout of the game to finish off the inning for the win.  

Burris (1-0) earned the win in relief, while Methodist's senior reliever Nick Norton (1-1) suffered the loss. He allowed three runs, all earned, in just one-third of an inning. 

Prior to the ninth-inning heroics, the Captains fell behind, 1-0, 6-2, and 9-6 before erasing each of the deficits in the game. In the second inning, CNU took advantage of a pair of miscues to score twice. Then, after giving up four runs in the bottom of the fourth, CNU answered immediately with four of their own in the top half of the fifth.  Ryan Grubbs walked, followed by a double from Cutchins and two-run single by Mason. Baham and Moore also delivered RBI hits in the inning, including a double by Baham for his fourth extra-base hit of the weekend. 

Mason had a stellar performance out of the leadoff spot for CNU, going 4-for-6 with 3 RBI and one run scored. Cutchins was 3-for-5 with 3 runs and 1 RBI, and four more CNU hitters registered two-hit performances. The team smacked 16 hits, with six multi-hit efforts. 

The Captains will now head home to Captains Park for nine straight home games, beginning with the home opener this Thursday, February 16 against Hampden-Sydney College. The Captains will throw out the first pitch at 2:00 pm.