WASHINGTON - With three games left in their regular conference season and a playoff spot on the line, The Catholic University of America baseball team traveled to Huntingdon, Pa., to take on Juniata College. The Cardinals took the first two of the series on Saturday afternoon (12-2, 14-4) and earn a 12-4 victory on Sunday to sweep the series and guarantee their spot in the 2015 Landmark Conference Tournament.
David Gately of CUA took the mound in game one Saturday and pitched the first five innings with three strikeouts, for his fourth win of the season. Christopher Hutton pitched the sixth inning with two K's and Ian Moss closed out the final inning.
The Cardinals started their scoring streak early with two runs in the first, they notched three more in the second and continued the scoring trend through the fifth, leaving only the sixth and seventh innings scoreless. Jake Crist sent a single into right field that brought home Dan Hinchcliff and put Stefan Poggioli on third for Andrew Stewart to pop a sacrifice fly into center field and earn the Cards a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
In the second inning the Brett Padula earned first base after an Eagles fielding error and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Mike McFarland drove a double into left field for his first RBI of the series and paced himself in scoring position. Hinchcliff drove home McFarland with a single, and proceeded to steal second for Crist to put an RBI single into left field, bringing the Cards ahead 5-1.
With runners on first and second, to start off the third inning, McFarland grounded a sacrifice bunt to third base to advance Eric Scamardella and Padula. Hinchcliff stepped to the plate and crushed a 2-RBI double, bring Catholic ahead 7-2.
The Cards notched one in the fourth with and RBI from Scamardella, scoring Wyatt Schmidt, and four runs in the fifth to triumph 12-2 over the Eagles in game one and keep their playoff fight alive. Fifth inning runs came from Hinchcliff, Poggioli, Crist, and Stewart with RBI's from Poggioli, Crist, Stewart and Anthony Ferlise, respectively.
Juniata took an early 2-0 lead in game two Saturday afternoon, but Catholic fought back scoring three runs a piece in the third through fifth innings while grabbing one more in the sixth and one in the seventh for the 14-4 victory.
Schmidt started the second inning scoring a run for the Cards off an RBI single from Scamardella. Hinchcliff put a sacrifice bunt on the ground to score Padula and Poggiloi scored McFarland on a left field single for a CUA 3-2 led in the top of the second.
The Eagles saw some trouble in the top of the third as Ferlise put and single into left field and two both Stewart and Crist came over the plate after a fielding error. Four batter later with the bases loaded the Eagles walked Hinchcliff to give the Cardinals their sixth run of game two.
Anthony Ferlise notched his second RBI of the game in top of the fourth while Schmidt and McFarland each earned their first. The three runs came in from Crist, Stewart and Ferlise and the Cards took a clear 9-4 lead over the Eagles.
Jack Hennessey pitched a full seven innings in game two giving up just four runs and throwing seven strikeouts for this fifth win of 2015.
After two wins Saturday afternoon Catholic remained alive in the conference standing and played Juniata to a 12-4 win to earn the fourth seed in the Landmark Conference playoffs.
The Redbirds started off the game with an RBI single from Ferlise to drive home Crist in the first inning. They notched two more in the second when Crist scored McFarland and Padula with a 2-RBI single to center field, for an early 3-0 CUA lead.
With the bases loaded in the top of the third inning, the Cardinals stole the show when McFarland launched a 3-RBI double into left field to score Padula, Scamardella and Stewart. Hinchcliff followed scoring McFarland and giving the Cards a solid 7-0 lead going the bottom of the third.
Stewart earned an RBI off a sacrifice fly in the fourth that scored Crist, while McFarland notched a run off an Eagles fielding error in the fifth. Padula scored on a passed ball in the seventh followed by a single to right field from Stewart to score Hinchcliff the Catholic 13-4 lead.
CUA scored one more run in the top off the fifth when Paul Burmester popped a sac fly into right field to drive home David Gately and secure a Cardinals 14-4 victory and playoff spot in the 2015 Landmark Conference playoffs.
Karan Sinha earned the win on the rubber for CUA after pitching three strikeouts in five innings. Mark Duffy saw three innings during the nine inning show and Joseph Salzano closed out the final three outs of the Landmark Conference regular season.
The Cardinals will take on Washington College Tuesday, April 28 at 4 p.m., at Robert J. Talbot Field and travel to Marymount (Va.) on Wednesday, April 29 for a 1 p.m. show before taking on Scranton in a three game semifinal series, beginning Saturday, May 2 and 11 a.m.