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Baseball Spears Marlins

Jaime Naill had a hit in his only official at-bat Saturday night.
Jaime Naill had a hit in his only official at-bat Saturday night.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The No. 18 Shenandoah University baseball team is now one win from claiming its second-ever ODAC Championship thanks to an 8-3 win over Virginia Wesleyan Saturday night at Lynchburg City Stadium.

Shenandoah (33-10) will have two chances to claim the title as VWU (28-13) meets Roanoke Sunday morning at 9:30 for the right to take on the Hornets in the 1:00 championship.

The Marlins or Maroons would have to beat SU twice to win the title and grab the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Shenandoah struck first Saturday night, scoring one run on one hit and one VWU error in the first. Grant Thompson led off with a four-pitch walk, moved to second on Tristan Baker's single to right and third on a Luke Nussman fly to center.

Designated hitter Keegan Woolford then came through with a groundball that Marlins first baseman Brady Fallon could not handle, allowing Thompson to trot home with the opening run of the contest.

One inning later, Baker had a two-out RBI opportunity and the junior took advantage, getting a two-run single into shallow center to score Thompson and Jaime Naill. Naill had reached on a one-out single to center while Thompson drew another four-pitch walk.

In the third, Nick Goode doubled to center with two outs and scored on Robert Marcelle's single to left.

After giving up a run on one hit, two walks and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, the Hornets answered back with a single run in the fifth.

Goode doubled to left center with one out, taking third on an error in center, which allowed SU skipper Kevin Anderson to call for a squeeze with Marcelle at the plate. The junior got it down perfectly and beat out the throw for a single. The throw was also wide, allowing Marcelle to advance to second.

Following a four-pitch walk to Naill, the Marlins turned to reliever Nick Bay. Bay, who lasted just 2/3 of an inning in the April 28 start versus SU, got Henry Delavergne to strikeout and Thompson to line out to right to end the threat.

The two runners stranded were two of 12 on the night for the Hornets. SU left the bases loaded on two occasions.

Virginia Wesleyan stranded 11 runners of its own.

Shenandoah pulled away with three runs in the eighth. Luke Nussman drilled a solo shot to right, his sixth, before a Chase Smallwood walk followed by Goode and Marcelle singles led to two more runs.

Marcelle drove in Smallwood with his single while Goode stole home on a double steal with Marcelle.

The Marlins scored single runs in the seventh and ninth, the latter with two outs.

Marcelle finished the night 3-for-4 with three RBI while Baker was 2-for-6 with two RBI.

Goode also had three hits.

Senior Jonathan Dance (3-0) came on for Robert Klinchock in the middle of the fourth and pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win. Dance allowed a run on two hits and two walks while striking out one.

Seth Comer and Gerard DePhillips split the final eight outs with DePhillips getting a bases loaded strikeout to end the Virginia Wesleyan eighth.

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