LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee baseball team nearly knocked off its second ranked foe in as many games, but a late rally fell just short as No. 1 Shenandoah University escaped with a 5-4 win over the Generals on Tuesday afternoon at Cap'n Dick Smith Field.
Trailing 4-2 entering in the bottom half of the eighth inning, the Generals' sophomore catcher Will Salley (Augusta, Ga./Westside) singled with one out to chase SU starter senior Brian Goddard (Forest, Va./Jefferson Forest). His replacement, junior Kyle Scallion (Ashburn, Va./Bishop O'Connell) then walked sophomore rightfielder Joe Scalzo (Ridgefield, Conn./Brunswick) to give W&L runners on first and second.
Sophomore third baseman Mike Savas (Bernardsville, N.J./Delbarton) then singled to drive in Salley and move Scalzo to second as W&L (9-9) cut the Hornet (18-0) lead to 4-3. Sophomore second baseman Chris Nault (Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood) followed with a double down the right field line that scored Scalzo and tied the game at 4-4. Junior centerfielder Mike Decembrino (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury) was intentionally walked and Scallion then induced a groundout and a strikeout to preserve the 4-4 tie.
In the ninth inning, SU sophomore Joey Donofrio (Ashburn, Va./Saint Peter's) doubled and moved to third on an error with one out and then scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by senior Greg Van Sickler (Stephenson, Va./James Wood).
Scallion set down the Generals in order in the ninth to earn the win (4-0).
W&L had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a Decembrino sacrifice fly before Shenandoah was able to tie it up 1-1 in the third on a Donofrio base hit.
The Generals went back on top, 2-1, in the bottom of the third inning as junior Alston James (Columbia, S.C./Hammond) scored on one of SU's four fielding errors.
SU quickly tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning courtesy of a groundout by senior Clint DeHaven (Stephens City, Va./Sherando).
The following inning, a two-run blast to left by junior Cory Nelson (Portsmouth, Va./Alliance Christian) gave the top-ranked Hornets a 4-2 lead to set up the late-inning dramatics.
Junior Joe Gannett (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep) was tagged with the loss (0-1), allowing an unearned run on one hit with three strikeouts in 2.2 innings of relief.
W&L was led by Nault, who finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Scalzo was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored, and James was 1-for-4 with a run.
Donofrio finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run for SU. Van Sickler was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Nelson finished 1-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.
The Generals return to action on Saturday when they host Hampden-Sydney in a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 pm.