Connell's four hits help Moravian capture Landmark Conference championship
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Moravian captured its second Landmark Conference championship in four seasons and an automatic berth to the 2013 NCAA Division III tournament with an 8-5 victory against Scranton on Monday.
Scranton jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-out RBI single by senior shortstop Tim LeCompte that scored sophomore first baseman Ross Danzig.
The Greyhounds, who have won six consecutive games, answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the first to take a 2-1 lead. Sophomore shortstop Colin Case singled with one out and sophomore outfielder Matt Hanson followed with a walk. After a ground out by freshman first baseman Charles Savite, junior outfielder Joseph Connell connected on a two-run double down the left field line to score Case and Hanson. It was Connell's fourth RBI double of the tournament.
Moravian tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second to make the lead 4-1, but the Greyhounds also left the bases loaded in the inning. Freshman catcher Mike Roethke hit a one-out single before freshman second baseman Alex Bull walked and freshman outfielder Jimmy McCarthy reached on an error to load the bases. Case drew an RBI walk to score Roethke and then Hanson was hit by a pitch to score Bull.
The Royals scored a run in the top of the fifth to cut Moravian's advantage to 4-2 on an RBI single by senior catcher Michael Amaturo.
The Greyhounds got the run right back in the bottom half of the fifth to make the lead 5-2. Sophomore designated hitter Justin Pilchman reached on an error to start the inning and he scored on an RBI ground out by McCarthy.
Scranton tied the game at five with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Danzig connected on a one-out, two-run double and then LeCompte hit an RBI single to score Danzig with the tying run.
Moravian retook the lead 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth when Connell singled with two outs and scored on an RBI double by sophomore third baseman Ryan Luke.
The Greyhounds added a run to make their lead 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning. McCarthy singled with two outs and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Hanson.
Moravian scored another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the advantage three runs 8-5. Connell started the inning with a single and scored on an RBI pinch-hit single from sophomore Joey DiSarno. Junior Harrison Fonteix came on to run for DiSarno and after an out, Bull was hit by a pitch before the Royals got out of the inning.
Scranton finished the game with a 13-12 edge in hits with LeCompte going 3-for-4 and Danzig going 3-for-5. Connell led the Greyhounds at the plate with a 4-for-5 performance, while Luke was 2-for-4 and Roethke was 2-for-5.
Sophomore Chris Lansberry started on the mound for the Greyhounds and tossed five-plus innings with four runs on nine hits and two walks to go with two strikeouts. Junior Chris Soltys came on in the top of the sixth inning and improved to 4-1 on the season with a run on four hits and a walk to go with one strikeout in four innings of action.
Scranton's starter, sophomore Luke Sheehan, tossed the first 1.1 innings and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks while striking out one batter. Sophomore Michael Villegas pitched 4.2 innings with two runs, one earned, on five hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts. Junior Christopher Rom started the bottom of the seventh inning for Scranton and retired two batters with a run on two hits and a walk. Sophomore James Sawyer pitched the final 1.1 innings with a run on two hits for the Royals.
• Conference Championship Central