by Jared Prenda
The Catholic University of America Baseball team had an impressive showing over spring break, going a phenomenal 9-1 during the team’s Spring Break excursion in Myrtle Beach, SC. The team entered the week with a strong 3-1 record, outscoring their opponents a combined 35-11. The team looked to continue their success into the weeklong trip, and did so swimmingly. The Cards started their annual visit with two great wins in a Sunday, March 5th double header against Pennsylvania State at Berks.
In the opener of the two game set, CUA took a strong 3-1 win over their foes. The team fielded sophomore John Mierzwa, who seems to be slowly turning into the team’s ace. The Laurel, Maryland dominated the Nittany Lions on the rubber, going 5 innings and recording 8 K’s.
The Birds continued to stay hot offensively as well, coming through with 8 hits during the first game, and relied on a host of batters to drive in their runs. Juniors Anthony Ferlise and Jack Cist set the tone of the match early with two first inning RBI’s. Sophomore Bailey Lewis later joined them in the fifth inning, when he ripped a double down the left line for the team’s third and final run.
Mierzwa was not the only member to take the rubber, with Junior Mark Duffy coming in as relief in the sixth inning and Senior Joseph Salzano coming in the 7th to record his first save of the year.
The second match of the day proved to be much more stressful for the Cardinals, with it taking an extra inning to resolve in a 4-3 win.
The game had a much different start, with freshman pitcher Ross Dean surrendering a first inning run on a Nittany Lion sacrifice run.
Following a game that showcased strong pitching on both sides, the game came down to the bottom of the seventh. Senior Brett Padula smacked a double to lead the effort, and later scored the game-tying run on a Penn State-Berks error, sending the game to extras at 3-3.
The final run came in a rare and exciting form, which was the perfect crescendo for a hard fought game. Freshman outfielder Cid Porter sat on third,
waiting for his chance to pounce. Padula came up to the plate again looking to create the magic of the prior inning, when the Nittany Lions decided to concede an intentional walk to the senior. On what should have been the fourth and final pitch, the Penn State-Berks threw a wild pitch by the catcher, allowing the freshman to slide home and seal the game in walk off fashion.
The Cardinals went through three other pitchers outside of Dean, with junior Sean Carrol and fellow freshman Eric Moore each pitched an inning of relief. Salzano once again pitched the final two innings, which resulted in his first win on the season.
The Cardinals looked just as strong throughout the rest of their road trip, only dropping one game over the week long stretch to Muhlenberg, and advancing their record to a staggering 10-2 as they enter Landmark Conference play. The Cardinals will be opening a three game series at the Moravian College Greyhounds, Including a Double header on Saturday, March 18th.