WASHINGTON, D.C. - After a frustrating loss in game one of a Landmark Conference series against Scranton, the Catholic University baseball team bounced back to win game two of the doubleheader on Saturday at Robert J. Talbot Field.
The Cardinals (11-9, 3-5 LC) tallied 23 hits in two games in the first action between the two teams since last year's Landmark Conference Championship on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Catholic was led by junior pitcher Ross Dean in game two who gave up just one run in a complete game victory.
Game 1: Scranton 11 | Catholic 10
Catholic got out to an early 4-0 lead after a strong first inning in game one, but Scranton (8-8, 5-2 LC) rallied to score in each of the game's last four innings to win a back-and-forth affair by a run. The Cardinals' first six batters all got on base at least twice and were responsible for the four-run first frame.
Leadoff man Connor Sullivan got things started with a walk, and senior Ryan Tracy kept his hot hitting going with a double down the right field line. After a balk scored Sullivan, fellow senior Bailey Lewis scored Tracy with a double to the gap in right center. Then junior Nolan Lundholm stepped up to bat and smacked a two-run homerun over the right field wall.
Senior ace Jon Mierzwa gave another strong outing on the mound for the Cardinals, giving up one earned run on four hits in 5.2 innings. He had six strikeouts through four innings, but could not get out of the sixth inning after a couple walks and errors got the Royals back into the game.
Scranton scored four runs in the top of the seventh frame to put the pressure on Catholic, but the hosts responded with their backs against the wall. Lundholm singled with one out to start a rally and sophomore Connor Cozad brought a run in with a triple in the next at-bat. Fellow sophomore Michael Doody got the job done with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 8-8 and make it a nine-inning contest.
Scranton scored three runs in the in their next two at-bats to go up 11-8 in the bottom of the ninth. Tracy led off the frame with an infield single, his third hit of the game. After Saturday's games, Tracy has now reached base safely in 12 straight contests. Lewis then found the right center gap again with an RBI triple. Cozad scored Lewis on a sacrifice fly to make the game 11-10, but the Cardinals could not muster another run to extend the game again.
Game 2: Catholic 7 | Scranton 1
Dean kept the Scranton lineup in check to stop Catholic's four-game conference losing streak in game two. The junior from East Greenwich, R.I. pitched all seven innings, walking just one and spreading out six hits. He struck out two and gave up just one unearned run in 99 pitches to earn his third win of the season.
The Cardinal offense made the most of its eight hits, scoring in five of its six at-bats to total seven runs. Junior catcher Jeff Guile led the way with a 3-3 performance that included a big 2-RBI double in the fifth inning to put the game away.
A Scranton error in the bottom of the first kept the inning alive and scored Sullivan to put Catholic up 1-0. Doody made the defense pay and singled to drive in Lundholm for a two-run advantage. Another bad throw on a grounder from Tracy in the fourth inning brought home two more unearned runs to extend the lead.
With a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning, Guile hit a bomb over the center fielder's head to bring home Cozad and Doody. The run support was plenty for Dean, who now has a 3.77 ERA in 31.0 innings pitched.
Catholic and Scranton wrap up their Landmark series with the third game tomorrow afternoon at Robert J. Talbot Field. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.