SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton is now one win away from securing its first Landmark Conference tournament berth since 2008, thanks to two pitching gems from junior Rocky Sawyer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) and sophomore Robert Della Polla (Havertown, Pa./St. Joseph's Preparatory) today at Connell Park.
Sawyer struck out eight and allowed just three hits as the Royals defeated Catholic University, 3-0, in the first game of a 7-inning doubleheader. In the second game, Della Polla struck out seven and scattered eight hits in an 8-1 victory.
The wins were the fifth and sixth straight for Scranton, now 14-14 overall and 9-5 in the conference. Catholic, which began the day tied for the top spot with Moravian College, fell to 19-13 overall and 11-3 in the Landmark.
Sawyer, who has not allowed an earned run in his last two starts and has allowed two-or-fewer earned runs in six of seven appearances this season, was in command from the get-go. He allowed only an infield single in the fourth and two hits in the seventh to improve to 4-3 on the season while lowering his earned run average to 1.93.
Senior Chris Stallone (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) and sophomores Tim LeCompte (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) and Michael Gaeta (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) led Scranton with two hits apiece and senior Jason Lane (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) had a hit and drove in a run during a two-run rally in the second inning. Stallone followed Lane's single in the second with his third double of the season to score senior Jeff Manahan (Morris Plains, N.J./Morristown).
Catholic, which hurt itself with two costly errors that led to two unearned runs, was led by freshman Brendan Breslin (Annandale, Va./W.T. Woodson) with a double and junior Dave Grear (Runnemede, N.J./Paul VI) and sophomore Marc Kalokitis (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) each singled.
The Cardinals' fielding woes continued in the nightcap, committing five miscues that led to seven unearned runs.
The Royals pushed three across the plate in the first inning on RBI singles by senior David Giglio (Wallingford, Conn./Xavier) and Gaeta and added another run in the fifth on an RBI single by sophomore Richard Pohl (Belvidere, N.J./Belvidere).
Pohl then broke it open in the sixth by hitting a bases-clearing double off Cardinal reliever Adam Schroth (Moosic, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) during a four-run rally. Giglio finished with two hits, including his team-leading seventh double of the season, and Stallone scored three times for Scranton, which has out-scored its last six opponents, 55-8. With the win in the second game, Della Polla improved to 4-2 on the season.
Junior Matt Greib (Garrett Park, Md./St. Alban's) led the Cardinals with two hits, including a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to pull Catholic to within two at the time. Greib's home run was his sixth of the season.
The series will conclude Saturday morning at Connell Park at 11:00 a.m.