LAPLUME, Pa. – The University of Scranton baseball team had its chance to knock off a nationally ranked opponent on Wednesday afternoon, but a pair of stellar defensive play denied the Royals in a 6-5 loss to seventh-ranked Keystone College at Christy Mathewson Field.
Trailing by a run in the top of the ninth, the Royals had runners on first and second with two outs when junior left fielder Greg Monastra (West Chester, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) ripped a line drive that looked like it was going to carry over the center fielder's head and potentially give the Royals the lead. But Keystone senior Brian Del Rosso (Stewartsville, N.J./Phillipsburg) made an over-the-shoulder diving catch to rob Monastra and end the game.
It was the second diving catch by Del Rosso that saved the Giants (19-4). He also made a diving catch on a ball hit by Royals senior designated hitter Mark Grambo (Clarks Summit, Pa./Scranton Preparatory) with a runner on second to end the top of the fifth. In all, Del Rosso's two catches saved three runs for Keystone.
The Giants led throughout, jumping ahead with a run in the bottom of the first and two more in the second, but the Royals (12-11) scrapped back with single runs in the third and fourth inning to make it 3-2. An RBI double by junior shortstop Tim LeCompte (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) got the Royals on the board in the third and Grambo scored on an error on a ball hit by junior catcher Michael Amaturo (Rye, N.Y./Rye) in the fourth.
Keystone added a run in the bottom of the fourth, but Scranton answered with a run in the top of the fifth on LeCompte's RBI single through a drawn-in infield after senior third baseman Matt Rayha (Willow Street, Pa./Penn Manor) had led off the inning with a triple.
The Giants' offense kept coming, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-3 lead, but Scranton scored a lone run in the sixth on an RBI single by freshman second baseman Shea Rosadino (Devon, Pa./Conestoga). The game remained 6-4 until the Royals scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth on a ground ball by Amaturo that drove home sophomore outfielder Michael Gaeta (Cranford, N.J./Cranford).
The Royals had 12 hits, led by three each from LeCompte, who drove in a pair, and Grambo. Rayha added two hits and Rosadino, Monastra, Gaeta and freshman first baseman Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy, N.J.) had one each.
Freshman pitcher Luke Sheehan (Bel Air, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Scranton, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out one.
Keystone was led by Del Rosso, who had two hits, two RBIs and a run scored. Freshman third baseman Lymbel Guerrero (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical) added a solo home run.
Scranton is back in action on Saturday, April 14, when it hosts Moravian at 1 p.m. in a Landmark Conference doubleheader at Connell Park.