Cardinals sit just one win from title after downing Moravian 8-6
WASHINGTON – CUA stands just one win away from its third Landmark Conference championship after the Cardinals downed top-seeded Moravian (31-8) 8-6 on Sunday afternoon. Brendan Breslin went 3 for 5 at the plate with two runs scored and senior Ron Esposito went 6.1 innings on the mound to earn the win for the Cardinals (21-19).
With the win on Sunday, CUA snapped Moravian's 15-game winning streak, which dated back to April 6. The Greyhounds also had not lost to a Landmark Conference opponent at home since March 28, 2010, a span of 19 games.
Esposito and Moravian starter Thomas Fenyak were terrific for the first four innings with neither team able to generate any runs during that time. CUA finally got to Fenyak in the fifth when it struck for two runs.
Tim Mierzwa began the rally when he walked with two outs and moved up to second on a stolen base. LJ Travaglia followed with a walk and the two runners advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. A throwing error by the Greyhounds second baseman allowed both Cardinals to score and CUA was in front 2-0.
Moravian came right back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning and the game was tied at two.
CUA went back on top with two runs in the next half inning, with Mark Kalokitis singling home Breslin and Marc Hanna for a 4-2 Cardinals lead.
Two more CUA runs in the eighth made it a 6-2 game as Mierzwa drove in one of the runs with a bunt and Matt Grieb singled in Kalokitis for a four-run Cardinals advantage.
A pair of Greyhound runs in the bottom of the eighth made the score 6-4, but CUA responded with two more runs in the top half of the ninth to go in front by four. Breslin scored the first run on a wild pitch and Mierzwa drove in pinch runner A.J. Ventura with a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals some breathing room heading into the final half inning.
Adam Schroth took over for Jack Mahoney on the mound for CUA and after giving up two runs, which cut CUA's lead to 8-6, he got Rocco Del Priore to fly out to right field, which ended the game and sent the Cardinals into the championship series on Monday.
Esposito scattered eight hits in 6.1 innings, striking out two and allowing only two earned runs during that time, while Nick Perrotta, Mahoney and Schroth combined to work the final 2.2 innings in relief.
Fenyak took the loss for Moravian after he gave up four runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits in 5.2 innings.
CUA will now take on Scranton on Monday afternoon beginning at 12:30 p.m. from Bethlehem, Pa. in the championship round of the tournament. If the Cardinals win they will claim their third conference title in four years. Should CUA lose the game, the two teams will play a winner-take-all championship game immediately afterwards.