Hartson Leads Monarch Baseball To Big Split With Misericordia

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WILKES-BARRE, PA (April 18, 2019) – Dan Hartson went 4-for-6 at the plate and pitched a complete game to lead the King's College baseball team to an important split with visiting Misericordia University on Thursday afternoon from Lipo Field in Wilkes-Barre. The Cougars won the opener 7-0 before King's won the nightcap 5-1.

The split allows the first-place Cougars (24-10, 13-5 MAC Freedom) to win the season series over the Monarchs (14-16, 10-8 MAC Freedom) while the King's win keeps them fourth in conference standings with just three games left. KC is three games ahead of Wilkes and Delaware Valley have been eliminated from postseason contention. The only team that can mathematically pass the Monarchs for the fourth qualifying spot is King's next conference opponent, Eastern University. King's just needs to win one of the three games next weekend against the Eagles to clinch their fourth consecutive postseason appearance. However, King's can also clinch without playing again if the Eagles get swept by DeSales on Saturday.

Colby Toth had another excellent pitching performance in the opener for the Monarchs against Misericordia ace Ian McCole. However, the freshman was dealt his first loss of the year as McCole allowed just three hits in six innings of action.

The Cougars got on the board in the first inning when three consecutive two-out hits scored a pair of runs. Misericordia tacked on another run in the third with a single, a sac bunt, and then an RBI single down the line in right. The Monarchs were very patient at the plate drawing five walks against McCole but struggled to drive in run as they left nine runners on base.

MU broke the game open with a big four-run sixth inning as they took advantage of two Monarch errors and a passed ball. Three of the four runs in the inning were unearned runs charged to Toth. Jacob Lupas relieved Toth with two on and one out and got the final five outs of the game for King's allowing just three hits.

The Monarchs had four hits in the game with Matt Dobeck, Christian Pack, Hartson, and Paul Helman each recording one. Dobeck also drew two walks. Toth allowed seven runs, four earned in 5.1 innings while walking four. The freshman pitched very well despite the loss against one of the best pitchers in the conference.

The Monarchs flipped the script in game two as Hartson was sharp on the mound throwing one of the best games of his career. He improved to 3-1 on the year with his second complete game allowing just one run on six hits with one walk, one hit by pitch, and four strikeouts. He faced just six batters over the minimum while getting 10 Cougars to ground out including double plays to end rallies in the fourth and fifth innings.

King's got on the board in the third inning as Sean McKee led off with a double off the wall in left. Dobeck knocked him in with a single to left and advanced to second as the left fielder misplayed the ball. Two batters later Hartson knocked in what would wind up being the game-winning run with an infield single to third. Matt Mellinger then hit a double to center scoring Hartson for first as King's took a 3-0 lead.

The Monarchs made it 5-0 in the fifth. Dobeck was hit by a pitch before Hartson hit the wall down the leftfield line for a double. Mellinger knocked both runners in with a big two-out single through the right side. The Cougars were able to score a run in the sixth on a hit by pitch, a double, and a sac fly. However, Hartson shut the door on any further damaging as he got out of the inning with a grounder to first and only allowed a two-out double in the seventh. Fittingly, the game ended with a ground ball right back at Hartson.

At the plate, Hartson helped himself with three hits in three plate appearances with two runs and an RBI. Dobeck had two hits in three at-bats with two runs and an RBI. Mellinger knocked in three runs with two hits. McKee added two hits in three at-bats and scored a run. The Monarchs had 10 hits in the game including three doubles.

The Monarchs will take the Easter weekend off before returning to action on Tuesday when they will host Marywood University at 4 pm from Lipo Field. King's will look to avenge a tough 11-10 loss on a walk-off hit in the ninth inning to the Pacers last month in Scranton.