#3 CNU Blows Past Randolph-Macon, 15-2

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ASHLAND, Va. -- The third-ranked Christopher Newport Captains (24-4) scored four runs in the opening inning and kept their foot on the gas, racing past Randolph-Macon College (14-13-1) today, 15-2. Luke Saunders led the way, going 3-for-5 with four RBI and a pair of runs scored.

The Captains surged out to a big lead early in support of sophomore starter Nick Santalucia. With one out in the top of the first, sophomore Billy Steel stroked the first of three singles to load the bases. An RBI groundout from Matt Shoemaker put the Captains on the board, followed by an RBI double from Steven Lindemuth. CNU wasn't done, as first baseman Steven Keener stepped in with a single, plating two more.

The Yellow Jackets cut into the lead with runs in the third and fourth inning, making the score 6-2, but CNU answered with another big inning in the top of the fifth.

CNU scored five runs while batting around in the inning. Senior catcher Ben Lenda picked up an RBI with a bases loaded hit-by-pitch, followed by a sacrifice fly by Chris McDougal. After the fifth free-pass of the inning, Steel stepped in and singled home Keener. Saunders picked up one of his RBI in the inning with a sac fly as the Captains broke the game open, taking a 11-2 lead.

Santalucia was efficient, striking out three with a pair of walks in seven innings of work. He gave up two earned runs and scattered six hits en route to his fourth win of the season.

Andrew Juba came on in relief, pitching two innings and giving up two hits with a pair of strikeouts to help seal the win.

The Captains had one more big inning, scoring four runs in the seventh, including a two-run home run off the bat of Matt Shoemaker. It was the team-leading fith homer of the year for the Captains' second baseman. Also in the game, Shannon Mark picked up his sixth triple of the season. Already the all-time career triples leader, Mark's sixth of the year gives him sole possession of the single season mark as well.

The win improved CNU to 24-4 overall this year, picking up their eight straight win for the longest streak of the year. That run will be put on the line this weekend against 12th ranked Shenandoah University (20-7, 7-3). The series will determine the regular season conference championship and has added flair, as it is the final time the two powerhouses will face eachother in conference action. Shenandoah is leaving for the ODAC in the 2012-13 year. Live stats and a live audio webcast will be available at suhornets.com. Links can also be found at CNUsports.com.