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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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Baseball loses shot at CAC championship, hopes for at-large regional bid

Baseball loses shot at CAC championship, hopes for at-large regional bid

By CHRIS MARKHAM

The University of Mary Washington baseball team was bumped from the Capitals Athletic Conference tournament earlier than it would have liked to after a 9-6 loss to Salisbury in the semifinal of the tournament.

After a thrilling and unexpected victory over Marymount University to put the Eagles in the next round, UMW was faced with a much tougher task of facing the No. 3 team in the country, Salisbury University.

The Eagles scored five runs in the first two innings, and four in the second. Those would be all the runs the Eagles would score for the rest of the game, however. The Seagulls spent the remainder of the game cutting into that lead, but ultimately came up one run short.

Despite going into the contest as the underdogs, the Eagles showed poise and confidence as they upended the Seagulls 5-4.

“People have been contributing at the right times,” said junior outfielder James Sink. “We all have certain roles on the team and each and every one trusted in coach and bought into them.”

The win set the Eagles up for a match against another elite team, the No. 4 ranked Bobcats of Frostburg State University.

The Eagles’ bats were kept at bay for much of the game, only mustering two runs on four hits. The two errors committed by UMW did not help either, as one resulted in a Bobcat run in the seventh inning.

Heading into the sixth inning down 2-1, the Eagles gave up three runs in the top of the inning to find themselves down 5-1, a deficit that ultimately proved to be too much for the Eagles to overcome as they lost to the Bobcats 7-2.

The loss did not put the Eagles out of the tournament completely, however, as the double-elimination format kept the Eagles’ hopes alive. As fate would have it, a rematch against Salisbury was in order to determine who would play the Bobcats in the CAC championship.

The Eagles were outscored 7-0 in the first five innings, but a five-run top of the sixth got the Eagles back into the game. The comeback was not enough, however, as UMW ultimately fell to the Seagulls 9-6, ending their hopes of a CAC Championship.

UMW still has hopes for another postseason run, as they have a chance for an at-large bid to the regional tournament. According to junior outfielder James Sink, their chances look pretty good.

“We have one of the toughest strength of schedules in the region and one of the best records right now in the country,” Sink said. “We are in both the national rankings for the first time in years and we know as a team, when we play our game, we can be a very dangerous team.”

Six of the seven losses suffered by the UMW baseball team this season have come to top-five teams, according to Sink, and should bolster their chances at a regional berth.

“We want a chance in a regional and feel as if we can make noise in it if so,” Sink said.