#3-Seed Penn State Harrisburg Stings CNU Baseball at Home, 8-2; Captains Eliminated From CAC Tournament

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The quest for a Capital Athletic Conference championship came to an end for the nationally-ranked CNU baseball team on Saturday, as third-seeded Penn State Harrisburg escaped the first-round tournament pod with an 8-2 win over the Captains. The Lions (31-10) advance to face top-seeded Salisbury University next weekend in a best-of-three championship series. 

The Captains fell to 32-10 overall this season with the setback in the double-elimination tournament. CNU was held to just six hits, tied for the fewest in a game this season. 

In the elimination game, Penn State Harrisburg pit rookie Zach Gettys (4-3) against Christopher Newport senior Logan Harrelson (3-3) on the mound. Gettys put together one of his finest outings of the season, allowing just three hits over 5.0 innings of work while striking out five. Harrelson allowed just four hits in his 4.0 innings, while also striking out five. 

The Lions took the lead in the bottom of the first on an unearned run before Harrelson worked out of a bases loaded jam surrendering just the one run. The Captains would then even the score in the top of the third when junior catcher Ryan Grubbs smashed a lead-off home run to deep left center field. It was his third round-tripper of the season. 

Harrelson worked quickly through the second and third, with three strikeouts and just one baaserunner allowed, but ran into trouble again in the fourth. After starting the inning with a strikeout, Ryan McSorley singled and Justin O'Dell walked to put two runners on. Another strikeout gave Harrelson two outs in the inning, but the Lions leader, Bret Williams, delivered a crushing three-run home run over the center field wall to give the visitors a 4-1 lead. 

CNU scored again in the top of the fifth when Nick DiNapoli and Grubbs walked to lead off the inning and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Henry. Jordan Mason hit the ball on the ground to the right side, allowing DiNapoli to score and cut the lead to 4-2, but that was as close as the Captains would get the rest of the game.

After Gettys allowed the first two batters to reach in the top of the sixth, the Lions turned to senior reliever Bobby Patterson for the rest of the game. Patterson stranded both and worked through the final three innings with just three hits allowed to earn his first save of the year. 

In relief of Harrelson, the Captains sent three southpaws to the hill as Brian Owens, Austin Slough, and Joe Burris each worked in the game. Owens made his 27th appearance of the year, tying the program record for pitching appearances in a single season. Burris also made his 25th appearance, tied for the fourth most in program history. Slough struck out a pair in a shutout eighth inning as he lowered his season ERA to 2.52. 

Offensively, the Captains were led by Jordan Mason (2-for-4, 1 RBI) and Brandon Ginch (2-for-3). Grubbs' home run came in a 1-for-3 performance with a walk as he reached in two of his four plate appearances. 

CNU is now 32-10 on the season and in the most recent NCAA Regional Rankings were pegged as the No. 2 team in the South Region behind Randolph-Macon College. The Captains will have to wait until the NCAA Tournament Selection Announcement on Sunday May 13 to see if they will have the opportunity to continue playing in the 2018 postseason.