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Martin's 2-hit shutout leads CNU to NCAA region final

Freshman lefthander Jamie Martin blanked the Falcons of Messiah University, 5-0, and the Captains can wrap up the regional title on Sunday.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — For the second straight day, the NCAA Division III Softball Regional at Captains Park was delayed by rain Saturday...and also for the second straight day, the top-ranked Captains of Christopher Newport University jumped to an early lead and recorded a shutout victory. Freshman lefthander Jamie Martin blanked the Falcons of Messiah University, 5-0, and the Captains can wrap up the regional title Sunday with another win over the Falcons.

Martin, the Freshman of the Year in the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference, improved her record to 17-1 by yielding just two singles while striking out ten Messiah hitters. She faced just 23 batters and dropped her season earned run average to 0.89. The shutout was the 11th of the year for Martin, and 21 of the Captains' 39 victories have come by shutout, most in the country.

Christopher Newport, the visiting team in the first game of three on the day, jumped to a quick lead by plating three runs in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Katie Currin, who crushed a grand slam in the opening inning in a victory over Wilson College on Friday, singled home senior Caitlin Abernethy with what would prove to be the only run the Captains would need. Seniors Abernethy, Bailey Roberts, and Kaitlyn Hasty opened the contest with three straight singles. Following Currin's hit, sophomore Brooke Greaver plated two with a single up the middle to make it 3-0.

CNU would add insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Roberts cracked a solo home run to left field in the fifth, her 12th of the season and the 68th of the year for the Captains. Christopher Newport is now just one home run shy of the all-time season high of 69 home runs set in 2019. The final run of the day came on an RBI double off the bat of Hasty

The Captains are now 39-1, and have won 16 straight games. CNU also remains undefeated at home this season with a perfect 23-0 mark. A total of three games were played at Captains Park on Saturday following the three-hour rain delay to start the day. Messiah came back after losing to the Captains to oust Wilson College in the third game of the day, 3-2. The Phoenix of Wilson eliminated Hunter College with a 2-0 triumph in the middle game Saturday. Messiah heads into Sunday's final against the Captains with a 28-14 record.

Christopher Newport will be looking for its 40th victory of the season in Sunday's regional final, which is set to begin at 12:00 noon. Messiah would have to beat the Captains in back-to-back games to capture the double-elimination tourney. In the 38-year history of the softball program, the Captains have reached the 40-win plateau just once. CNU was 42-10 in the 2010 season, which saw the Captains advance to the National Championship game before losing to Linfield College. This is the 15th consecutive NCAA appearance for Keith Parr's squad, and the 19th in program history.