BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The No. 7 Moravian College softball team swept The Catholic University of America, 1-0 and 5-0, in Landmark Conference action Sunday afternoon at Blue & Grey Field as the Greyhounds clinched the top seed in the 2017 Landmark Conference Tournament.
The Hounds, who are now 33-3 overall and 10-0 in Landmark Conference games, will host the conference tournament on Friday and Saturday, May 5-6. The only other team to clinch a spot at this time is Susquehanna University, which will be the second seed.
"We had to take two out of four to host so I'm glad we didn't wait until next weekend," commented Head Coach John Byrne. "We took care of that today, and it is one less thing to worry about but we still want to finish strong. We have four games left on the schedule to give us our full 40 games, which you don't see every year considering the weather. I'd like to get those in and finish up strong and ride those into the conference playoffs the following weekend. We had two good shutouts today. Pitching and defense will win you games."
In the opener versus the Cardinals Sunday, junior pitcher Josie Novak tossed her seventh one-hit shutout of the season in the opener and her 12th shutout overall of the year, the third most in a single season in school history. Novak allowed one walk to go with the one hit and seven strikeouts to give her 132 strikeouts for the spring, the tenth highest season total in school history, and Novak is now third all-time with 24 career shutouts among her among her 54 career victories.
The Greyhounds were limited to four hits in the opener with junior first baseman Jean Markovic going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Moravian threatened in the third inning, stranding a runner at second base, and the Greyhounds put two runners in scoring position with one out in the fourth inning but were unable to score. The Hounds left eight runners on base during the game.
The Blue and Grey finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior designated player Abby Jeffries led off with a single and junior Jackie Marshall came on to pinch run. After an out, freshman right fielder Lauren Goetz drew a walk to move Marshall into scoring position. Markovic ripped a 2-1 pitch to right field for an RBI single as Marshall raced home.
Junior Amanda Carisone tossed a three-hit shutout in the second game with a walk and two strikeouts as she improved to 17-1 on the season. The shutout was Carisone's third of the season and 16th of her career to move into sole possession of eighth in school history.
The Greyhounds had just four hits in the second game with sophomore center fielder Kat Spilman going 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs. Moravian left another 11 runners on base in the second game.
After leading the bases loaded in the second inning, Moravian scored twice in the bottom of the third for a 2-0 lead. Sophomore shortstop Kaela Kane reached on an error and scored when Spilman drove a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left center for a two-run homer, Spilman's second home run of the season.
Moravian added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 5-0 advantage. Freshman right fielder Emily Stanilious led off with a bunt single. After a sacrifice bunt, senior left fielder Julie Siragusa reached on an error before the second out of the inning. Spilman drew a walk to load the bases before Jeffries was hit by a pitch to push Stanilious across the plate. Junior catcher Janae Matos and Markovic would draw walks to score Siragusa and Spilman with insurance runs.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, April 25 in a non-conference doubleheader at Stevens Institute of Technology beginning at 3:00 p.m.