McCloud's blast lifts CUA to 4-3 season-opening win

McCloud's blast lifts CUA to 4-3 season-opening win

WASHINGTON – Chris McCloud led off the sixth inning with a mammoth home run to left field that proved to be the difference in CUA's 4-3 win over Messiah in the season opener on Wednesday.  The Cardinals used four pitchers on the day, and they combined for eight strikeouts and just one walk.

Messiah jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when John Brubaker and Ryan Brown hit solo home runs for the Falcons.

CUA scored twice in the bottom of the second to tie things at two.  Dan Sullivan drove in Mark Kalokitis with a sac fly to right field and Dave Grear then drove in Brendan Breslin with a double.

The Cardinals took a 3-2 lead in the third when Marc Hanna scored on a Messiah error.  Hanna led off the inning with a triple.

CUA remained in the lead until the sixth when Jacob Sprengle drove in Paul Mellinger with a single to tie the score at three.

The tie did not last long though, as McCloud led the bottom half of the inning off with a monster home run that sailed well past the scoreboard in left field and put the Cardinals in front 4-3.

The Falcons threatened in the seventh when they put a runner on third with two outs, but CUA's Thomas Travaglia induced Mellinger into a fly out to end the frame.

With darkness setting in, Messiah again had a chance in the ninth to tie the game, when the Falcons put runners on first and second with two outs, but Chris Nee ended any hope of a rally when he got Derek Drake to fly out to right to end the game.

Robin Mowatt got the start on the mound for CUA and he went five innings, striking out three and allowing two earned runs.  Kevin Farley earned the win for the Cardinals after going 1.1 innings and allowing one run, while Nee picked up the save after working two scoreless innings.

Messiah starter Tory Arnesen went four innings, allowed three runs and struck out three, while Davin Okerblom went two innings and suffered the loss after allowing McCloud's round tripper.

CUA finished with nine hits on the afternoon, including a 2-for-2 day by freshman Dan Hinchcliff in his college debut.  Grear also had two hits for the Cardinals.

CUA returns to the diamond on Saturday afternoon when the Cardinals host Swarthmore in a doubleheader.  First pitch is slated for noon.