Messiah sweeps Elizabethtown

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Game 1: Box Score (XML) | Box Score (HTML)

Game 2: Box Score (XML) | Box Score (HTML)

GRANTHAM, Pa. – Elizabethtown baseball was victimized by a pair of home runs in game one, including a three-run walk-off blast by Joseph Saufley, and could not come up with enough late-inning runs to avoid being swept at Messiah 7-4 and 5-3 Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Jays fall to 12-12 overall and 5-8 in the Commonwealth Conference, while Messiah improves to 12-11 (10-5 CC).

Messiah put Friday's forgettable 17-3 loss behind it quickly, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in game one. David Sletta hit an RBI single in the first and the Falcons tacked on three more in the second against E-town starter Zack Tomasko with an RBI double from Derek Drake and a two-run homer by Jacob Sprengle.

Tomasko had not allowed more than three earned runs in his previous three starts coming into Saturday, but did settle down to hold the Falcons to just one hit and no runs over the final two innings of his start. He went five, allowed six hits and struck out four.

Elizabethtown staged a three-run rally in the sixth to tie the game at four and get Tomasko off the hook for the loss. Kyle Fackler was plunked with the bases bringing in Ian Smith. Then, with the bases still full, Jon Lapp's pickoff attempt missed its target allowing Dylan Manning and Alex Holbert to score.

Sletta and Zach Brubaker singled against Josh Sollenberger in the seventh, setting up Saufley's one-out, three-run walk-off home run. The Blue Jay sophomore took his first loss of the season with thee runs allowed in 1.1 innings.

Tyler Weary was 2-for-3 and Smith scored two of the Jays' four runs.

The Blue Jays led game two 2-1 after Frank Canuso scored on an error and Gable delivered an RBI single in the top of the third, but Messiah came back to tie it in the bottom of the third and then take the lead for good with a two-run single by Saufley in the fourth.

Steve Ridings, who was roughed up by Elizabethtown in the series opener Friday, pitched a complete game six-hitter and struck out four. He kept the Jays guessing throughout, as no batter had more than one hit against him. Fackler and Canuso each doubled in the loss.

E-town pitcher Kristopher Davis gave up five runs (three earned) over five in taking the loss. His streak without an unearned run allowed ended at 21.2 innings when Sletta drove in Josh Good with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second. Alex Holbert's run of 22 games reaching base safely also drew to a close as he sacrificed in the third, grounded out in the fifth and was stranded in the on-deck circle when the Blue Jays hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The race for the final playoff spot is tightening up with two weekends of conference play remaining. Elizabethtown and Albright are tied for fifth at 5-8, while Lebanon Valley sits three games up with two more games played. The Blue Jays and Albright make up a doubleheader tomorrow in Reading beginning at noon.
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