WASHINGTON – The Cardinals opened their 2011 Landmark Conference schedule with a sweep of Drew on Saturday afternoon, downing the Rangers 3-2 in game one and 8-0 in game two. Senior Ron Esposito won game one after throwing six innings of one-run ball, while four CUA hurlers combined for a one-hitter in the second game.
CUA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one when Matt Grieb led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error and then came all the way around on a wild pitch.
The Cardinals went in front 3-0 with two more runs in the third beginning with a Tim Mierzwa single and a walk to Grieb. The runners moved up one base on a Drew error and Mierzwa came across on a Dan Sullivan groundout. Grieb eventually scored on a LJ Travaglia sac fly to give CUA a three-run advantage.
The Rangers got one of the runs back in the top of the fifth to cut it to a two-run game when Coury Napier scored on a Tom Murray single.
The score remained that way until the top of the seventh when the Rangers inched closer with another run. Drew then put runners on second and third with two outs but Hanna made a terrific diving stab of a Marco Caracappa grounder to retire the side and finish the game.
Esposito was terrific on the mound, throwing six innings of one-run baseball to go along with a strikeout and only two walks. Hanna worked the seventh to record his third save of the season.
The game one loss went to Tom Koonz who threw six innings, struck out four and allowed three runs on five hits.
In game two CUA scored single runs in the first and the second and then blew the game open with a five-run fourth inning. Dimitri Deoudes led things off with a double and quickly moved to third with a stolen base. Troy Langway then brought home Deoudes with a fielder's choice to make it 3-0.
Langway moved to second on a Grieb groundout and following a walk to Mierzwa CUA executed a double steal to move both runners into scoring position. A wild pitch then plated Langway and later in the inning Dave Grear's single brought in Mierzwa.
An error by Drew's left fielder plated two more runs and CUA had built itself a comfortable 7-0 lead after four.
A Mierzwa single in the bottom of the fifth pushed across CUA's eighth run when Langway scored and the Cardinals were cruising.
Andrew Carroll worked the first four innings for CUA and allowed just a single hit to go with four strikeouts as he earned the win. Rob Steinkopf, Nick Perotta and Rob Renzi then combined to throw three innings of no-hit ball to preserve the shutout for the Cardinals.
Evan Martens suffered the setback for the Rangers after allowing five runs in 3.1 innings.
Grear finished the doubleheader 4 for 6 at the dish (.667) to go along with an RBI and a run scored, while Mierzwa pounded out three hits in five at bats and scored three times.
On Sunday the teams will wrap up their three game set with a single game beginning at 11 a.m. at Talbot Field.