Moravian Eliminates Catholic, 6-2, at Landmark Tournament
BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The top seeded Moravian College baseball team won its first elimination game of the 2012 Landmark Conference Tournament as the host Greyhounds defeated third seeded The Catholic University of America, 6-2, at Gillespie Field Sunday in the first of three games of the day.
The Greyhounds (27-15) advance to the second elimination game of the tournament Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. versus the loser of the winner's bracket game between second seed The United States Merchant Marine Academy and fourth seed Drew University. Catholic finishes its seas with a 24-17 record.
Catholic would open the game with a pair of base runners in the top of the first inning on a one-out bunt single from senior second baseman Tim Mierzwa and a two-out hit by pitch to senior designated hitter David Grear. Moravian senior pitcher Brendan Close would work out of the jam to end the inning.
The Cardinals did push a run across the plate in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Freshman outfielder Wes Stonelake singled to left field with one out, and a ground out moved him to second base. After a passed ball would get Stonelake to third, freshman shortstop Dan Hinchclik connected on an RBI single up the middle.
The Greyhounds answered with two runs in the bottom half of the second to take a 2-1 lead. Senior designated hitter Austin Rock hit an infield single with two outs before freshman outfielder Chris Lansberry walked. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third before senior catcher Blake Shortall ripped a two-RBI single up the middle to send Rock and Lansberry across the plate.
Senior shortstop Dave Zubia led off the bottom of the third for Moravian with a single through the left side of the infield for his 62nd hit of the season, breaking the school record. Zubia stole second and scored for a 3-1 lead when senior first baseman Kevin O'Keefe reached on an error. Senior third baseman Gregg Steinman followed with an RBI single to center field as O'Keefe scored to give Moravian a 4-1 advantage. Freshman outfielder Matt Hanson was hit by a pitch before the second out of the inning. Lansberry connected on an RBI single to right field to score Steinman from second base and push the Greyhounds' advantage to 5-1.
Sophomore third baseman Matt Hanna singled with one out for Catholic in the top of the fourth inning but Moravian would turn a double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Moravian sophomore outfielder Joseph Connell was hit by a pitch and stole second base, but he would be stranded at third base.
Moravian threatened with two runners in the bottom of the fifth but the score remained 5-1. Hanson and Rock hit back-to-back singles up the middle with one out but Hanson would be thrown out at home on a delayed stolen base attempt. Catholic would get a ground out to end the inning.
The Cardinals would put two runners on base but did not score in the top of the sixth. Mierzwa singled with one out, and senior outfielder Matt Grieb drew a walk. Close would end the inning with a double play.
Moravian had a runner reach third base in the bottom half of the sixth when Shortall singled and ended up third on a double play. However, the Greyhounds would not score.
Rock led off the bottom of the eighth with a single for Moravian, and sophomore Harrison Fonteix came into pinch run after Rock reached second on a wild pitch. Connell ripped a two-out RBI single off of the shortstop's glove on a leaping attempt to bring Fonteix home and extend the lead to 6-1 for the Greyhounds. Connell was thrown out at the plate on an infield single by Zubia to end the inning.
Grieb led off the top of the ninth for Catholic with an infield single to third base, and Grier followed with a single to right field. Hanna would then connect on an RBI single to center field, scoring Grieb and cutting the Greyhounds' advantage to 6-2. Freshman first baseman Colin McCarthy would ground into a double play on interference at second base for the first two outs of the inning. Close would get a ground out to Zubia to end the game for his 30th career victory.
Moravian had a 12-8 edge in hits with Rock going three-for-four. Shortall was two-for-four with a pair of RBIs for the Greyhounds while Zubia was two-for-five. Mierzwa and Hanna each went two-for-four to lead the Cardinals.
Close improved to 8-1 on the season, allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out two batters.
Catholic used three pitchers in the game with senior Justin D'Alessandro taking the loss after giving up five runs, three of them earned, on five hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts in three-plus innings of action.