April 30, 2011

CUA falls to Moravian in pair of one-run games at home

WASHINGTON – CUA fell to Moravian in a pair of one-run contests on Saturday at Talbot Field.  In game number one CUA forced extra innings with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but a Greyhounds homerun in the ninth proved to be the difference in a 3-2 decision.  Moravian then scored five runs in the sixth inning of game two and held on for an 8-7 win.

The day's first game pitted two of the top pitchers in the entire Landmark Conference against one another and CUA's Ron Esposito and Moravian's Brendan Close did not disappoint.  Esposito went 6.2 innings, scattering eight hits along the way and allowed only one earned run, while striking out three.  Close struck out six in 6.2 innings, and allowed two earned runs, while also scattering eight hits.

Moravian took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the game when Jason Huber scored on a stolen base by Dave Zubia.  The throw to second was cut off but Huber beat the throw to home plate to give the Greyhounds an early lead.

From there the pitchers took over, not allowing any runs until the sixth when CUA got on the board to tie things at one.  Chris McCloud doubled with one out and following a ground out by Matt Grieb, AJ Ventura pinch ran for McCloud.  That brought Mark Kalokitis to the plate and he delivered a single to center that plated Ventura and knotted things at one apiece.

Moravian went back on top with a single run of its own in the top of the seventh, but the Cardinals did not go away quietly, as they answered with a single run in the bottom half to send the game into extra innings tied at two.

Brendan Breslin led the inning off with a single and moved down to second on a wild pitch.  A one-out groundout by Tim Mierzwa moved Breslin over to third and brought LJ Travaglia to the dish with CUA down to its last out.  The Cardinals senior shortstop then laced a single to right field that brought the CUA crowd to its feet and tied the score at two. 

Following a scoreless eighth inning the Greyhounds received a home run by Huber down the left field line that hit the foul pole and put the visitors in front by one. CUA then went in order in the bottom half and Moravian took game one.

Kyle Longernecker earned the win for the Greyhounds after he went 2.1 innings and struck out two, while Marc Hanna suffered the loss for the Cardinals after giving up one run in two innings.

In the nightcap both teams' bats came alive, beginning in the third inning when Breslin smashed a home run to left field to give the Cardinals their first lead of the day.

Moravian scored three times in the fourth to go in front 3-1, but the Cardinals came right back with three runs of their own in the bottom half to grab a one-run advantage.  CUA did all of its damage with two outs, including a Breslin double that plated Kalokitis, and Dave Grear launched a long round tripper to left that smashed off the scoreboard and plated two.

Leading by one CUA increased its lead to 7-3 with three more runs in the fifth, including RBI singles by McCloud and Kalokitis and a fielder's choice by Grieb that plated a run.

Down to its final six outs and trialing by four Moravian scored five times in the top of the sixth to regain the lead, 8-7.  A Kevin O'Keefe single to right field with two outs pushed two Greyhounds across, including the eventual game-winning run.

CUA put two runners on with only one out in the sixth, but a fly out and strike out by the next two Cardinals ended the frame.  In the seventh CUA went down in order, ending the day for the Cardinals.

Thomas Travaglia took the game two loss for CUA after he gave up two runs in one-third of an inning, while Ben Hammel went two innings for Moravian and earned the win.

By virtue of its wins on Saturday Moravian clinched the top seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference Tournament, and with it the right to host next weekend's tournament.  CUA has also clinched a berth and the No. 3 Cardinals will take on No. 2 Scranton in the opening round.

On Sunday the Cardinals and Greyhounds will play the final game of their series beginning at noon at Talbot Field.  Prior to the contest CUA will honor its senior class.

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