Catholic comes out of elimination round to take Landmark title

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Scranton, Pa. - The Catholic University of America baseball team captured the 2018 Landmark Conference Championship Title with a sweep over the University of Scranton on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals took game one with an outstanding 21-7 finish and game two 10-7.

The Cardinals scored 31 runs on 31 hits in 18 innings. Eight Catholic hitters recorded RBI's during game one of the league showdown while six Cardinals batted runs home in game two.

During the first game of the day, Junior Ryan Tracy hit 4-of-5 and scored five runs and one RBI while senior Brennan Cotter went 2-of-4 with six RBIs, two runs and three walks. Senior Anthony Ferlise hit 2-of-3 while his classmate Jake Crist batted in four runners and fellow senior Danny O'Hagan came home three times.

Freshman Michael Doody hit 2-of-3 with three RBIs and two runs during the Landmark Conference Championship Tournaments final game.  

Cotter was selected as the Landmark Conference Championship Tournament MVP after recording 10 RBIs on eight hits over five games during the three-day tournament.

Catholic opened game one of the day with a five-run first inning on an RBI double from Cotter and back-to-back RBI singles from O'Hagan and Ferlise. Tracy batted in O'Hagan in the third and Crist sent a single up the middle to score Tracy and Ferlise in the fifth as the Cardinals maintained the advantage (8-5).

With two runs in the bottom of the sixth, Scranton came within one of Catholic but Doody batted in Tracy in the seventh before the Cardinals lit up the scoreboard with 11-runs in the eighth.

Senior Jack Hennessy and sophomore Cid Porter came home first in the eighth inning when they capitalized on Royal miscues. Crist followed with a single to right field to score Cotter and Tracy before he came home on an RBI single from Doody.

The Catholic offense continued to trip up the Scranton defense as junior Bailey Lewis scored next on a fielding error followed by a 2-RBI single from Hennessy to left field. Before the Royals could retire the inning the Cardinals loaded the bases for Cotter to drive a 3-RBI double to centerfield for a 20-7 lead.

Sophomore Will Pyne cracked his first career homer in the ninth to put Catholic's 21st run on the board and seal the game one victory.

Catholic carried the momentum into the title game as Cotter and Hennessy made their way across the plate in the first inning. Scranton answered with three runs in the second and another in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead.

Doody tied the game with a 2-RBI double in the fifth before Ferlise blasted a 2-run homer over the left-center wall to regain the lead. Crist popped a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to score Tracy and Doody came home on a Hennessy single in the seventh. Hennessy and Cozad scored Catholic's ninth and tenth runs on Scranton defensive miscues.

The Cardinals utilized seven pitchers over the two games. Sophomore Ethan Risse started game one and senior Sean Carroll started game two. Sophomore Jack Ropelweski threw relief in both games and earned the win in game one while his classmate Nolan Lundholm claimed the win in game two.

Fellow sophomore Eric Moore pitched in both games while senior David Gatley (1.1 innings) and freshman Brian Bernetich (1.0 innings) each threw relief. Catholic junior Jon Mierzwa threw the final inning of the title game.

This is Catholic's fifth Landmark Title and first since the Class of 2018 won the league crown during their freshman season (2015). The Cardinals now await the NCAA DIII Baseball Selection show to find out who they will face in the first round of the NCAA DIII Regional Tournament.