No. 10/13 CNU Baseball Wins 11th Straight With 9-3 Victory at Hampden-Sydney College

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HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va. -- The nationally-ranked Christopher Newport baseball team picked up it's 11th straight win on Monday afternoon after downing Hampden-Sydney College (10-6) on the road, 9-3. The Captains improved to 19-4 after adding to the roll, in which eight of the 11 consecutive victories have come away from home. 

Senior Ryan Powell (3-2) tossed a season-high five innings and allowed just one run on four hits while striking out three. Offensively, a five-run fifth inning broke the game open for CNU, who added two more in the seventh- and ninth-innings. 

All nine players in the dangerous Captains offense reached base in the game, with the middle of the order featuring multi-hit performances from Brandon Ginch, Nicholas Baham, Craig Johnson, and Nick DiNapoli

Powell worked around trouble in each of the first three innings, with runners getting into scoring position in all three frames. The defense backed up their senior right-hander, though, with Ryan Grubbs throwing out a would-be base stealer in the first, the middle infield turning an inning-ending double play in the second, and Johnson unleashing a perfect strike from right field for an outfield assist at third base in the third. 

Having settled in, Powell powered through the next two innings, retiring the Tigers in order. After giving up a lead-off double in the bottom of the sixth, the Captains went to the bullpen to relieve Powell's strong start. CNU's offense had staked him to a 5-0 lead before he left, putting him in line for the win. 

That lead was courtesy of a 5-run fifth kickstarted by DiNapoli's lead-off single. After Grubbs reached on an error during a sacrifice bunt attempt, DiNapoli advanced to third to set up a sacrifice fly from Austin Henry. Turning over the lineup, the Captains would string together five straight singles from Jordan Mason, Conner Clark, Woodard, Ginch, and Baham. Clark, Woodard, and Baham drove in runs with their base knocks, and Johnson drove in a run on the second sacrifice fly of the inning. 

In the top of the seventh, Ginch singled with one out and moved up to second on a stolen base. Two batters later, Johnson delivered a two-out triple to plate the first of two runs in the inning. After Hampden-Sydney pitching walked the next three batters, Johnson would trot home to give CNU a 7-2 lead. 

The last of the CNU offense came in the top of the ninth when Baham stepped in and delivered a lead-off home run for his team-leading fifth of the season. Later in the inning, Johnson would score for the second time when DiNapoli ripped an RBI single. 

Craig Johnson led the offense, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Henry and Baham also each added a pair of RBI and Ginch reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk. 

On the mound, Austin Slough gave up one unearned run with two strikeouts in his inning of relief, followed by one frame from Logan Aylor. Then Brian Owens worked through a clean eighth and senior closer Joe Burris struck out one during a perfect ninth inning to clean up the 9-3 win for CNU.  

Burris made his 13th appearance of the season and 63 career trip to the mound for the Captains. He climbs into a tie for fourth all-time in the Capital Athletic Conference with Jake Hughes (York (Pa.)) and continues to close in on the top three all-time at CNU, trailing only Ryan Fleischmann's 85, Matt Verdillo's 73, and Caleb Myers 68 career pitching appearances. 

The Captains will travel to Mary Washington for Capital Athletic Conference action against the Eagles on Wednesday, March 28. First pitch will be at 3:00 pm in Fredericksburg, Va.