NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The fifth-seeded Marymount (Va.) University baseball team overcame a five-run deficit on Tuesday afternoon in the opening round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, handing second-seeded Christopher Newport University a 7-6 decision on its home diamond.
Junior righty Collin Bazemore took the hill for the Saints, making his ninth start of the season to open the first round of the tournament. Although it was a slow start, seeing five runs cross in the first inning in favor of the Captain, Bazemore dialed in for five-straight scoreless innings while dishing out four strikeouts.
While Bazemore controlled the mound, the Saints began to control the offensive end. In the top of the second, Marymount brought around its first run to start the comeback. With senior Karlis Graubics at third, senior Roy Coates stepped in to smack a single to left field for the RBI.
The score remained at a stalemate until the fourth when the Saints offense erupted for four runs to tie the ballgame up at 5-5. With Graubics and sophomore Luke Tyree moved to scoring position due to a balk, sophomore Conner Hall knocked a deep shot to the gap in left centerfield to score both runners for a 2-RBI double. On the next at bat, Coates, on an attempt to shift Hall to third, laid down a bunt on the third-base line, but a poor through by the pitcher to first base not only put Coates on second base, but it scored Hall.
Another error brought in the game-tying run a few batters later. With Coates and senior Marlon Mitchell on first and second and just one out, senior Lorenzo Calderon put down a sacrifice bunt toward the third baseman. A poor throw to first base made it easy for Coates to continue around third and roll home for the 5-5 score.
In the bottom half of the frame, the Captains looked to retake the lead. With two outs, CNU's AJ Nicely sent a ball into right field where Calderon scooped up the shallow shot. Rounding third, CNU's Keith Roberts decided to attempt the sprint home, but came up short on his slide when Calderon heaved the throw all the way to the plate to Coates who tagged Roberts in front of home plate to end the inning.
It took until the seventh inning for a team to take the lead, as the Saints registered their last two runs on a lined shot to right centerfield off the bat of Coates for a 2-RBI double.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bazemore's day came to a close and sophomore Patrick Berthelette came in for relief. Through 1.1 innings, the side-arm pitcher gave up just one hit and one walk to keep the Captains silent.
In the eighth, Hall shifted from his shortstop position to the mound in search of his sixth save of the season. Needing two outs in the eighth, Hall saw just two batters for a fly out and a strikeout to send the game into the final frame.
No runs came across for the Saints in the top half of the ninth, as Hall came back out for the final three outs to seal up the victory. Seeing the opening batter get on base off a walk, CNU's Roberts stepped in for the game-tying at bat. Sending a single into the gap of right centerfield, Roberts made an attempt to get to second while another Captain advanced to third. With quick precision, centerfielder Tyree scooped the ball and tossed a lined pass to second base where junior Kaden Darrow tagged Roberts for the out.
On the next at bat, a Captain hit a double to right field to score the runner at third to get within one, 7-6, but that's as close as they'd get. Hall popped out the next batter to first base before sealing up the victory on a strikeout swinging.
Bazemore earned his fifth win on the mound, while Hall registered his league-leading sixth save of the season.
The Saints will now head to top-seeded Salisbury University for the remainder of the CAC Tournament. Marymount will take on No. 4 Wesley College in the next game of the double-elimination playoffs on Thursday, April 20 at 4 p.m.