Nationally-Ranked CNU Baseball Falls to No. 4 Randolph-Macon in 2018 NCAA South Regional Championship

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HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – In the 2018 NCAA South Regional Championship, nationally-ranked Christopher Newport University was eliminated by fourth-ranked Randolph-Macon College, 11-2. The Yellow Jackets won the regional title and will advance to Appleton to play in the Division III World Series.
The Captains season came to a close on Sunday afternoon at Ting Park after a tumultuous weekend featuring four rain delays, an elimination game starting at just before 11:00 pm, and two wins over nationally-ranked opponents. The draining schedule finally caught up with the Captains offense, facing a fresh Randolph-Macon squad, ranked No. 4 in the nation, who went 4-0 in regional play.
R-MC jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first and added five more over the first four innings to take an 11-0 lead. The Captains held the Yellow Jackets scoreless over the final five frames, but were unable to get going offensively, scoring just two runs on five hits in the game.

In what would prove to be his final collegiate pitching appearance, senior closer Joe Burris put together an impressive outing for the Captains out of the bullpen. Having pitched more than 3.0 innings only twice since his freshman year when he was a starter, Burris was masterful in 3.1 innings of work against one of the nation's leading offenses. Coming in facing an 11-0 deficit with a runner on third and two outs in the top of the fourth, he needed just one pitch to end the threat with a flyball to center. Then, over the next three innings, Burris struck out one and allowed just two singles while keeping the Yellow Jackets off the board.
Burris shattered the Capital Athletic Conference record for career pitching appearances and finished second all-time in program history with 79 outings. His final showing lowered his season ERA to 2.17 and his career mark to 3.53, ranking just outside the top ten all-time at CNU. In his career as a reliever, his ERA was among the best in program history, with a 2.64 mark over 92.0 IP.
Offensively, Conference Player of the Year Seth Woodard put the Captains on the board in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double into the left field corner. His 17th double of the season notched his 65th RBI of the season, which ranks third on the single season chart at CNU. The run-scoring two-bagger was set up by back-to-back singles from Jordan Mason and senior Carter Biringer. Biringer would race home on an RBI groundout by John Anderson to account for CNU's second run of the inning. Woodard's hit also extended his on-base streak to 47 games, the second longest roll in program history since the stat became official in 2010.
The Captains were able to send off a talented senior class with game action for all but one of the active fourth-year players. Logan Aylor and Ryan Powell each saw action on the mound, as did Craig Johnson, making his first pitching appearance since his sophomore year to close out the game in the 9th. Powell tossed a perfect eighth and Johnson struck out one in a clean final frame. Burris, Johnson, Biringer, and Brandon Walker all saw action while Brandon Ginch, injured in the Regional, and Logan Harrelson, out sick, were the only two seniors to not see time. 
Johnson, Burris, and Brian Owens were each named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team following the game. In five games of action, Johnson finished 5-for-19 with a double, home run, 2 runs and 2 RBI. Burris went 1-0 with a save, tossed 7.1 innings while allowing just one run. Owens rounded out the honored Captains with three appearances, striking out eight batters in 5.0 innings of shutout relief, allowing just three hits. His 30th outing of the season sets a new standard for single season pitching appearances in CNU history.
Closing the book on a terrific overall season, CNU smacked 106 doubles on the season, marking the first season since 2011 the team has reached the century mark in two-base hits. The 49 home runs hit this season were tied for second most in a single season, shy of only the 58 blasted in CNU's national runner-up season of 2002.
CNU wraps up the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history with a 3-2 record, improving to 26-18, all under head coach John Harvell. The Captains close out the season with a 35-12 overall record, marking just the fourth 35-win season in program history. Coach Harvell is now just four wins shy of 500 for his career through 18 seasons at the helm for CNU, with an overall record of 496-250-3 (.664).