Cardinals Win Baseball
Third-seeded CUA overcomes the odds to win it all
HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The third-seeded Catholic University baseball squad (26-13-1) overcame adversity this past weekend to win the Landmark Conference Championship by defeating the University of Scranton (26-16), 16-7, in the deciding game. The Cardinals beat both the first and second seeds earlier in the tourney to then face fourth-seeded Scranton coming out of the loser's bracket. This marks the second Landmark Conference team championship in two days for CUA.
The Royals started out strong taking momentum from their win over Juniata to complete Saturday's rain out. Two runs crossed the plate in the first and two more after a home run in the second to put CUA in the hole 4-0. However, once again a big inning proved to be key for CUA as they scored eight runs in the bottom of the second to double the Royals. Patrick Quintana (Denver, Colo./Littleton) brought the first two in after a double to right center. Two walks then forced a Scranton pitching change but it didn't make a difference as Tommy Little (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) scored on the next at bat thanks to a fielder's choice by Joe Maca (Oyster Bay, N.Y./Saint Dominic). Mike Goodman's (Brookville, Md./Sherwood) single moved Maca to home and Matthew Rosner's (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill West) double to left center scored the final two runs to make it 8-4.
Holding onto the lead, it was the defense's job to hold the Royals and despite a number of Scranton runners in scoring position CUA managed to hold on. In the bottom of the fourth the Cards added to the lead after a wild pitch allowed Joe Devine (Medford Lakes, N.J./Shawnee) to scramble for home but Scranton quickly answered to bring the lead back to four.
Mike Michalski (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) drove home another run in the fifth with a single down the left field line but once again the Royals chipped away at the lead in the top of the sixth with two runs scored off of a double and a sac fly. Just as Scranton looked to be rolling, the Cards stopped their rally with four runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to four singles and a pair of wild pitches. A Maca single in the seventh and a Quintana double in the eighth then made it 16-7 CUA continued to move closer to the elusive championship. In Scranton's final at bat, closer Michael Bzozowski (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) came in resulting in a fly ball and two strikeouts making the final 16-7 and giving CUA the title.
Tommy Bowles (Davidsonville, Md./Mount Saint Joe) led the Cards with four hits, four runs scored and an RBI while Rosner was perfect at the plate going 3-3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Quintana also notched three RBI. Ronnie Esposito (Annville, Pa./Annville-Cleona) was awarded the win on the mound with three strikeouts after getting the starting nod. The Cardinals out hit Scranton 15-12 and were perfect in the field.
CUA is currently riding a ten-game win streak but will have to wait to see if they will be invited to postseason play. The selections will be announced on May 11th.