SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton held off a late rally to complete a three-game Landmark Conference sweep of Catholic University, 10-9, Tuesday afternoon at Connell Park.
The Royals won their seventh straight game to improve to 15-14 overall and are now just one game behind the Cardinals for second place in the conference with a 10-5 mark. The win also guarantees Scranton a spot in the conference postseason tournament, which begins on Saturday, May 7, at the site of the number one seed.
The Royals belted three home runs in the first three innings to open up an 8-1 lead. Freshman Eric Pizzico (Royersford, Pa./Spring Ford) belted a two-run home run in the first and seniors Chris Stallone (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) and Jeff Manahan (Morris Plains, N.J./Morristown) followed with three-run shots in the second and third inning, respectively.
The Cardinals, now 19-15 overall and 11-4 in the conference, added three runs in the seventh and a grand slam by junior Matt Grieb (Garrett Park, Md./St. Alban's) in the eighth tied the game at 9-9.
In the bottom of the eighth, Stallone walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice by sophomore Richard Pohl (Belvidere, N.J./Belvidere) and scored the game-winning run on a single by sophomore Tim LeCompte (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge). Stallone finished with two hits and scored three times.
Junior pitcher Rocky Sawyer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) came on in relief in the bottom of the eighth inning and struck out three of the four batters he faced to pick up the victory, his fifth of the year. Royal starter Corey Gorman (Laflin, Pa./Coughlin) went 6 and 1/3 innings and struck out nine batters while giving up seven hits and five earned runs.
Pizzico, Manahan and senior Jeff Lane (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) also finished with two hits for Scranton, which belted out 12 for the game.
The Royals will return to the Landmark Conference tournament for the first time since 2008. That year, Scranton advanced to the championship bracket in the double-elimination tournament only to lose to Catholic University, 16-7, in a game played at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
Scranton will take on Wilkes University tomorrow afternoon in Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, beginning at 4:00 p.m.