Late Heroics Give CUA Pair of Victories
Cards come back in both games to defeat USMMA
WASHINGTON - The Catholic University baseball team needed all seven innings of both games in its doubleheader Saturday afternoon to get a pair of victories over the United States Merchant Marine Academy (5-13, 1-7 Landmark) in Landmark Conference play. CUA won the first game 5-4 and the second 2-1 to improve to 9-8 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
The Cards managed the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the third after an error on the left fielder brought in Tommy Little (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) and Joe Maca (Oyster Bay, N.Y./Saint Dominic) to make it 2-0. A double and error against CUA gave the Mariners one run in the fourth and as the Cardinal offense struggled, USMMA took advantage adding two more in the top of the fifth after a botched throw and another double. Things got even worse for the Cards in the top of the seventh after the second batter was walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced home on an error to make the score 4-2 with just one at bat remaining.
With things looking bleak, the Cardinal offense finally got moving and had a big three-run inning. Leadoff Robbie O'Brien (Columbia, Md./Long Reach) was walked and up came Mike Goodman (Brookville, Md./Sherwood) who hit a rocket out of the park to tie it up. The next batter was hit by the pitch, and after another walk as well as a CUA, hit the bases were loaded with no outs. On the next play the Mariner pitcher walked in the winning run to give the Cards the 5-4 victory.
Despite the win, the Cards were out hit 6-4 and had one more error in the game. After four Cardinal pitchers, Brendan McGowan (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) was credited with the win although he faced just the final four batters. Starter Kevin Sweeney (Bethesda/St. Anselm's Abbey School) pitched four innings with two strikeouts for the Cards.
The second game flew by for both squads as neither could generate runs for the first six innings. The teams combined for nine three and out at bats as it looked like extra innings were in the works. However, in the top of the seventh Brad Rakoce hit a homer for USMMA to give them a one run lead with the Cards running out of chances. Leadoff Maca started the at bat with a triple and two walked loaded the bases for Tommy Bowles (Davidsonville, Md./Mount Saint Joe) who reached on an error allowing Maca to come home. Matthew Rosner (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill West) stepped up to the plate and put down a bunt for the perfectly executed suicide squeeze to bring in the winning run and end the game at 2-1.
The Cards had just two hits in the contest to USMMA's four but the two mattered as they generated the game-winning runs. Both pitchers notched complete games as Ronnie Esposito (Annville, Pa./Annville-Cleona) was given the win for CUA after five strikeouts in seven innings.
The Cardinals will host the Mariners in the final game of the series on Sunday at noon.