CUA hangs tough with nation's fifth ranked team before falling

CUA hangs tough with nation's fifth ranked team before falling

WASHINGTON – CUA hung tough with No. 5 Christopher Newport on Tuesday afternoon but ultimately fell to the Captains 7-3 at Talbot Field.  The Cardinals trailed 2-1 before CNU (25-1) scored five times in the ninth, but CUA (10-6) had one final chance with two outs and the bases loaded before Dave Grear hit a fly ball to deep right field that was caught for the final out.

The two teams were locked in a serious pitching dual for the first eight innings, combining for only three runs.  Neither team got a hit until Dimitri Deoudes' single in the second inning with two outs.  Christopher Newport retired the next batter however, and the score remained 0-0.

CUA got on the board in the third when Tim Mierzwa led off with a single. Matt Grieb then grounded out to second and Mierzwa moved up 90 feet.  Dan Sullivan was next and he roped a pitch into right field, which brought home Mierzwa and put the home team in front 1-0.

The score remained that way until the sixth when the Captains scored twice to take a one-run lead.  Billy Steel got the rally started with a one out single and Travis Medina followed with a walk.  Connor Madden was next and he drove a double into the right-center gap, which plated both runs and gave Christopher Newport its first lead of the afternoon.

CUA got out of the inning with no further damage though and remained well within striking distance.

Both pitching staffs continued to hold the offenses in check until the ninth when CNU struck for five runs.  The big blow was a three-run double by Steel, while Luke Saunders delivered a two-run single to complete the scoring.

Down 7-1 and down to its final at-bat CUA refused to go away quietly.  Pinch hitter Beriah Smith led off with a walk and Deoudes followed with a walk.  Mark Kalokitis then got on by way of an infield single and the bases were loaded.

Mierzwa was next and he drove home Smith with a sac fly to right field.  Matt Grieb continued the inning with a walk for CUA, which loaded the bases, and that brought up Troy Langway.  Langway went down swinging, meaning the Cardinals were down to one final out.

Next, CNU made a pitching change with Ryan Fleischmann entering the game.  He wound up hitting LJ Travaglia, which plated CUA's third run and brought the tying run to the plate in Grear. 

The two went at one another with neither backing down.  With two strikes Grear got a pitch he could handle and lifted it into right field, but Medina camped underneath it and made the catch to end the game.

Andrew Carroll got the start on the mound for CUA and was brilliant in 5.2 innings.  He allowed only two earned runs, struck out two and scattered three hits, but did suffer the loss. 

Jacob Vaughn started for CNU and went seven innings, surrendered one earned run and struck out six before giving way to Matt Verdillo who went 1.2 innings and allowed two runs.

On Wednesday CUA begins a five game road trip when the Cardinals travel to take on Washington College.  First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.