ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – The Catholic University baseball team started its Landmark Conference play Saturday afternoon, splitting the first two games of the three-game series against Elizabethtown.
Catholic (8-4) took the first game by a score of 6-3 against the Blue Jays, who were picked just behind the Cardinals in the conference preseason poll, finishing second with 43 points.
Infielders Ryan Tracy and Connor Cozad led the way offensively in game one to support starting pitcher Jon Mierzwa, who pitched into the fifth inning to earn his third win of the season. Elizabethtown (4-7) rebounded for a 12-8 win in the second contest.
The Cardinals began the first contest with another hot start, scoring five runs in the first two innings. Tracy doubled down the left field line to get into scoring position in the first, and then sophomore Michael Doody drove him in with a single up the middle to put the visitors up 1-0 early.
Tracy now leads the team with 15 hits in 12 contests.
Familiar faces were involved in the second inning when Catholic scored four runs with five singles. Cozad and Sean Dempsey singled, then Connor Sullivan walked to load the bases. Tracy delivered a 2-RBI single through the right side. Doody and Nolan Lundholm then followed with singles of their own to bring in two more runs.
Senior right-hander Mierzwa held the powerful Blue Jays offense, including 2018 Landmark Player of the Year Derek Manning, to just four hits in the first four innings. He struck out two, walked two, and gave up six hits for three earned runs. The Laurel, Md. native ran into trouble in the fifth frame, but junior reliever Eric Moore finished off the last 2.1 innings to earn a save.
Cozad tacked on an insurance run in the final frame with an RBI triple to put Catholic up by three runs. Moore closed the game out in the bottom half of the seventh for the 6-3 win.
The Blue Jays scored 12 runs on 15 hits in game two to split the home doubleheader. Lundholm stayed hot at the plate with three doubles in the contest. He now has 11 hits in 26 at-bats in addition to ten walks, making an impressive .583 on-base percentage. Cozad had three hits of his own as well, including the Cardinals' first homerun in the ninth inning.
Ross Dean took the loss in the game, giving up three runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings. Four defensive errors hurt the team as Elizabethtown had two four-run innings.
Catholic wraps up the series with Elizabethtown tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is set for noon at Kevin Scott Boyd Stadium.