Kutztown takes two of three from VSU
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Mar 11, 2013, 15:42
ETTRICK – The Virginia State University baseball team suffered consecutive setbacks on Saturday, falling to visiting Kutztown 9-1 and 8-1, respectively, in a doubleheader at Whaley Colbert Field in Ettrick.
But the Trojans sprang forward on Sunday to claim a 4-0 win over the Golden Bears, who are ranked eighth in the Division-II Atlantic Region.
Colonial Heights native Josh Markins struck out three and allowed just five hits in the complete-game victory. Markins, Nick Christopher and Kelvin Davis all registered two hits in the series finale, helping VSU salvage a measure of consolation from an otherwise frustrating weekend.
Virginia State University sophomore Josh Markins had two hits and pitched a complete-game shutout against Kutztown University on Sunday in Ettrick (file photo).
Trojans coach Merrill Morgan tabbed the non-conference series as a good barometer of his team’s development.
“It’s definitely going to help us down the stretch,” Morgan said. “We won’t play anybody better. They’re sound, they make good plays and their pitchers throw well.”
Morgan said he believes his sophomore-laden team is capable of joining the Golden Bears in the upper echelons of the region, but conceded that the group still has some growing pains to endure.
“It’s definitely in them,” Morgan said. “We’re just not quite there yet. Playing teams like this and seeing what they do will help with that. When you look at them, they’re a team. Nobody stood out, but everybody played well together. We’re going to have to do that also.”
The chasm between the two squads was plain to see on Saturday.
A picture of efficiency in Game 1, Kutztown turned nine hits into nine runs to snap VSU starter Colton Gunn’s two-game winning streak. Gunn, a true freshman, gave up seven hits and seven earned runs in four innings of work. The Dinwiddie native had allowed a total of three runs and seven hits in his previous three starts.
“I don’t think he had it today,” Morgan said. “I could tell from that first pitch that he didn’t have that zip on his fastball. It happens, and he still battled, but he wasn’t himself.”
Former Thomas Dale standout David Fitzgerald labored in similar fashion in Game 2, conceding six earned runs and eight hits in three innings. Fitzgerald’s struggles were compounded by a two-out rally from Kutztown that yielded five runs in the top of the third.
“Every mistake or error we made, they capitalized on,” Morgan said. “They weren’t overpowering us or doing anything special, but they were solid and they made plays.”
Christopher scored the Trojans’ only run of Game 2, halving a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the first inning on a double steal. The infielder beat KU sophomore Ricky Gorrell’s throw home after Markins successfully swiped second base.
Jason Henderson and Kyle Stoudt claimed pitching victories for the Golden Bears (6-3) while Brandon Shurr absorbed Sunday’s defeat.
The win bumps the Trojans to 8-7 on the season. VSU will play host to Southern Virginia on Tuesday and travel to face Newport News Apprentice School on Thursday before resuming CIAA conference play with a weekend series at Shaw.
A road outing against Division-I Old Dominion looms next Wednesday.