Royals Lock Up Landmark Tournament Berth With Pair of Wins Over Juniata Today
HUNTINGDON, Pa.—The University of Scranton's late-season surge continued Saturday afternoon against Juniata College in a Landmark Conference doubleheader at Langdon-Goodale Field.
In the opener, senior Jeff Lane (Moosic, Pa./Riverside) keyed an 8-run rally in the sixth inning with a 3-run double as the Royals won 9-4. Lane finished with two hits and four RBI and freshman Eric Pizzico (Royersford, Pa./Spring Ford), sophomore Mike Gaeta (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) and senior David Giglio (Wallingford, Conn./Xavier) each had two hits for Scranton.
Junior Rocky Sawyer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) went 5 and 1/3 innings, struck out six, scattered six hits and allowed only two earned runs to pick up his fourth straight victory to improve to 6-3 on the season. He got plenty of relief help from junior Sean Butler (Dickson City, Pa./Scranton), who pitched the final 1 and 2/3 innings and did not allow a run.
In the second game, the Royals managed only four hits off Juniata junior pitcher Matt Regan (Downingtown, Pa./Devon Preparatory), but Scranton took advantage of four errors by the Eagles to pull out a 4-2 victory. Junior Matt Rayha (Willow Street, Pa./Penn Manor) had two hits and senior Chris Stallone (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) drove in a run with his fourth double of the season.
Tied 1-1, the Royals took the lead for good with a two-run rally in the fifth inning aided by two errors. Senior Chris Velazquez (Pomona, N.Y./Albertus Magnus) singled, advanced to second on a single by Rayha, and came around to score on a throwing error. Lane then drove in Rayha with a sacrifice that was misplayed by Regan
The Eagles committed two more errors in the seventh that led to another unearned run by Scranton.
Sophomore pitcher Robert Della Polla (Havertown, Pa./St. Joseph's Preparatory) struck out six in six innings to pick the victory and improved his record to 5-2. Freshman Chris Rom (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh) took over for Della Polla with the bases-loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh and got a fly out and sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a walk to earn his first save of the season.
Regan took the loss despite striking out 10 batters and allowing only one earned run.
Scranton has now won its last 12 games to improve to 20-14 overall 12-5 in the conference. Regardless of tomorrow's outcome against Juniata, the Royals are the number two seed in next weekend's Landmark Conference double-elimination tournament, which will be held at the site of the number one seed, Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.