April 24, 2010

Sophomores Come Up Big for Cardinals on Senior Day; CUA Maintains Two-Game Lead in Conference Standings

Sophomores Come Up Big for Cardinals on Senior Day; CUA Maintains Two-Game Lead in Conference Standings

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2010) – Trailing 6-2 after 2½ innings Saturday, Senior Day was not going the way Catholic University’s seniors wanted to end their regular-season careers at Robert J. Talbot Field.

Ross Hunsberger made sure it didn’t stay that way very long. The sophomore picked up his five senior teammates by doubling in three runs to punctuate a five-run third.

When Scranton reassumed the lead, 9-7, its next time up, sophomore Dave Grear came to the rescue. His grand slam put the Cardinals back on top, 11-9, in an eventual 12-9 victory.

CUA (20-11, 13-2 Landmark Conference) won its 20th game for a third straight season and maintained its two-game lead in the loss column over Moravian College. The two teams will meet next weekend for a three-game series in Bethlehem, Pa., with the top seed in the four-team conference tournament on the line.

If Moravian defeats Drew University on Sunday, the Cards would need to win one game next weekend to secure the No. 1 seed.

The club that finishes atop the Landmark’s regular-season standings hosts the league tournament, May 7-9. The tourney winner earns the conference’s first automatic berth to the NCAA Division III baseball tournament.

The Cardinals won the first two conference championships (2008-09) but did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs.

CUA’s Tim Mierzwa (2-for-4) led off the fourth with a single and went to second on Dmitri Deoudes’ one-out single. Eamonn Burke was hit by a pitch to juice the bases, and after Matt Grieb went down swinging, Grear launched his team-leading sixth home run to right field. Grear finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs.

The Cards added an insurance run in the eighth after Tommy Little (1-for-3) singled to left center and advanced to third on Deoudes’ base hit to right. Burke grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to score Little.

Junior Jack Mahoney (2-3), the fourth Cardinal pitcher, logged four scoreless innings to notch the win. He gave up six hits, two walks and struck out three after relieving Jimmy Hagedorn in the fourth.

Senior right-hander Mike Bzozowski pitched the final 1??? innings to lower his ERA to 2.00 and earn his fifth save. After walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth, he induced a fly ball to left and struck out the final two batters.

Deoudes went 3-for-5, scored twice and knocked in a pair of runs, giving him nine RBIs in the three-game series. He paces the Cards in hitting (.446) and RBIs (34).

Mierzwa and Little, at the top of the order, scored three runs apiece.

Saturday’s 12-9 win capped CUA’s fourth three-game Landmark Conference series sweep of the year. The Redbirds won the first game of the set by the same score.

Tim LeCompte, Chris Bligh and Jesse Outhouse produced three hits each in the Royals’ 15-hit performance. Scranton fell to 15-21 and 8-7.

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