BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The No. 22 ranked and top seed Moravian College baseball team won the first elimination game of the 2014 Landmark Conference Tournament with an 11-0 victory over third seed The Catholic University of America Sunday morning at Gillespie Field.
The Hounds have now won 30 games for just the second time in school history and are 30-9, will play in the second elimination game of the day Sunday at 4:00 p.m. versus the loser of the winner's bracket game between second seed Susquehanna University and fourth seed The United States Merchant Marine Academy. Catholic falls to 21-19 after the game.
"Today was a different day and that's baseball," stated Moravian Head Coach Paul Engelhardt. "We came out and swung the sticks."
Moravian freshman Nicolas Ampietro and senior Jason Jamula combined on the four-hit shutout on the mound. Ampietro improved to 5-2 after allowing four hits and six walks to go with one strikeout over the first 7.1 innings. Jamula finished off the contest with a walk and three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
"Nic's performance is what we needed on the mound to get the bats going," Engelhardt said of Ampietro's start. "It allowed our guys to relax at the plate since they were getting some pitching. To come in as a freshman and do that was just amazing."
The Greyhounds opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning for a 2-0 lead. Freshman left fielder Anthony Gaetaniello reached on a two-base error, and junior right fielder Matt Hanson was hit by a pitch with two outs to put runners on the corners. Sophomore first baseman Charles Savite followed with a two-RBI double just inside the first base bag and down the right field line to score Gaetaniello and Hanson. Savite's double was Moravian's first hit of the game.
Moravian pushed the lead to 5-0 with three runs in the home half of the fifth inning. Gaetaniello led off with a single up the middle, and he stole second base and moved to third on an interference call as he attempted to get up and run when the throw rolled into center field. Junior shortstop Colin Case followed with an RBI single to score Gaetaniello. Case reached third on a stolen base and a throwing error by the Cardinals before scoring on a wild pitch. Savite singles with one out, stole second and scored on an RBI single up the middle by senior center fielder Joseph Connell.
The Greyhounds added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth for an 8-0 lead. Sophomore catcher Mike Roethke started things off with a single, and he reached second on an error in the Catholic outfield. After an infield single by sophomore second baseman Alex Bull, Gaetaniello put down an RBI sacrifice bunt to score Roethke. Case followed with an RBI single while Savite finished off the inning with an RBI single on his second straight hit on a 0-2 pitch.
Moravian pushed the lead to 9-0 with a run in the seventh when Connell reached on an error to start the frame, and Connell scored on an RBI infield single by Gaetaniello as he beat the throw to first base on a grounder to shortstop.
The Greyhounds scored two more runs in the eighth inning to finish the scoring. Hanson led off with an 11-pitch at-bat finishing with a single through the right side, and he scored while junior third baseman Ryan Luke reached on a throwing error. Connell followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Luke.
Moravian had a 15-4 advantage in hits with Savite and Connell each going 3-for-5. Gaetaniello was 2-for-3 while Hanson went 2-for-4 and Case was 2-for-5.
"Everybody woke up at the plate," Engelhardt said. "Hitting is contagious. One guy starts hitting and then the others do. Hopefully one game leads into another and we keep playing some baseball."
Catholic used five pitchers in the game with senior Robin Mowatt taking the loss after four-plus innings as the starter.