Roberts Big Fly, Bullpen Dominance Leads CNU to 9-5 Win at Mary Washington in CAC Action

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- A dominant relief outing from senior Caleb Myers punctuated an impressive come-from-behind win in Capital Athletic Conference action on Wednesday afternoon, as the Christopher Newport baseball team won at Mary Washington, 9-5. The Captains (20-9, 10-0) picked up their 11th straight victory as senior Keith Roberts blasted a go-ahead home run in the top of the 8th inning and Myers struck out five of the six batters he faced in finishing off the Eagles. 

Mary Washington falls to 11-12 on the season with a 4-6 mark in conference play. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, courtesy of a grand slam from rookie Christian Hague in the bottom of the first inning. It was just the third home run allowed this season by CNU pitching. 

After that, though, the Captains turned in an impressive response, outscoring the home team 9-1 the rest of the way. CNU took a 5-4 lead in the top of the third, taking advantage of four Mary Washington errors in the frame. Jordan Mason kicked off the big inning with a one-out double, followed by a hit-by-pitch to Roberts. After the Eagles starter recorded the second out, the wheels came off for the Eagles defense. 

First, A.J. Nicely ripped a hard shot into center field for a run-scoring single, but the ball got away from the defender and Nicely put on the jets. The senior outfielder showed off his wheels and sprinted all the way around the bases, chasing Mason and Roberts to the plate as CNU got on the board with three runs on the play. The line kept moving as Nicholas Baham walked and Craig Johnson reached on an error to left field. Then, on back-to-back plays, Joseph Cutchins and Brandon Walker each plated a run with ground balls that chewed up the middle of the Mary Washington defense. 

Rookie starter Thomas Packert put together another strong start following the first inning hiccup. He struck out eight batters in 5.1 innings of work with five hits allowed. He left with a no decision after Mary Washington scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to tie things up. In relief, sophomore Austin Slough came on to escape the sixth without any further damage, striking out Reed Farrier with two runners on to end the inning. 

Slough went on to throw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief while allowing just one hit. He added a second strikeout to end the seventh frame with a runner at third base. He would go on to secure the win as the offense exploded for four runs in the top of the eighth. Slough improved to 2-1 this season. 

After Mason reached on an error, the Eagles' sixth of the game, Roberts delivered with the big blast to put the Captains back on top, 7-5. A two-run shot, it was Roberts' first home run of the season and CNU's 26th of the year; the Captains rank third nationally in home runs this year. Before the inning was out, the Blue and Silver tacked on two more insurance runs with a two-RBI single from Baham

With a four-run lead in hand, head coach John Harvell turned to his senior righty out of the pen for the 61st time of his career. Just the third player in program history to reach 60 career appearances, Myers inched closer to the conference record for career pitching appearances, set at 67 by Wesley's Andrew Cooper. The 61st appearance would be memorable, as Myers was perfect through the final two innings, retiring all six batters he faced. He came on in the eighth and struck out the side and, in the ninth, induced a weak groundball to the right side before striking out the last two batters. 

The CNU offense was led by Jordan Mason (3-5), who reached base in five of his six plate appearances. Roberts (2-4) added a two-hit day with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, and Nicely registered his fifth consecutive multi-hit performance with a 2-for-5 day. 

The Captains will return home this weekend to host York (Pa.) in a CAC doubleheader on Saturday, April 1. First pitch is scheduled for Noon against the Spartans.