NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 19/20 Shenandoah University baseball team saw its season end Saturday afternoon with a 9-5 loss to No. 6/9 Christopher Newport University.
The win puts top-seeded CNU (33-8) into the regional championship contest against second-seeded Salisbury. The Sea Gulls advanced into the championship on Friday night with a 2-1, 14-inning victory over Shenandoah (31-13).
As with the previous four meetings of the season between SU and the Captains, the Hornets held an early lead only to see CNU rally.
Playing as the home team, Shenandoah scored one run in the first on a Jake Pendergraft RBI single before Christopher Newport came back thanks to a Steven Keener two-run dinger in the fourth.
SU retook the lead in the fifth, sending nine men to the plate and scoring three runs on four hits, but CNU had another rally in itself.
The Captains matched Shenandoah by sending nine men up versus three Shenandoah pitchers in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead.
Pendergraft, who had given the Hornets their second lead with a two-run double in the fifth, scored what proved to be his team's final run of the season by leading off the seventh with a single to right, advancing to third on a Cory Nelson double to left and scoring on a wild pitch.
Unfortunately for the Hornet faithful, this would be as close as SU would come.
CNU scored three times in the eighth and then Captains closer Ryan Fleischmann recorded the final six outs in order to close out the contest.
Junior Nick McMahon (6-1) took the loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. He also struck out three.
Matt Verdillo (4-0) was the winner with 2 2/3 innings of relief work. He gave up one run on three hits.