by Jared Prenda
The Catholic University Cardinals continue their early dominance in the first half of the season with a strong 4-1 victory over the McDaniel College Green Terror. The Wednesday, March 22 away game served as a brief hiatus from Landmark Conference play for the Cards, who are 2-0 in conference play. The Birds are rolling over opponents, boasting a 13-2 overall record and continuing a 7-game winning streak dating back to the beginning of the month.
The Cardinals hopped on the board almost instantaneously in the top of the first inning. Following a ground out to second from the leadoff batter, sophomore outfielder Bailey Lewis ripped a double to center, and managed to advance to third following an errant pitch. The next hitter, junior Jake Cist grounded out to second, but allowed the sophomore to score the game’s opening run.
The second and third innings were quiet from both sides, with neither side scoring until the top of the fourth inning. The set started off in an unusual manner, with leadoff batter Brennan Cotter still managing to reach first on a wild pitch despite striking out swinging. The junior then was able to move into scoring position on second following another wild pitch from the Green Terror pitcher. Following a strike out, freshman outfielder Connor Sullivan managed to hit a single into left field and record his fifth RBI of the season. Sullivan was then able to advance to second on yet another wild pitch, where he was able to score following a single up the middle from senior teammate Nick Kuczarski.
The Cardinals pitching staff dominated their opponents for the entirety of the match. The team gave the start to senior Joseph Prego, who only gave up two hits and no earned runs in his four and two-thirds innings on the rubber. He was relieved by sophomore Collin Brown, who managed to earn his second win on the season, pitching two and one-third. Senior Jonah Jimenez also came in for an inning of relief before being replaced by freshman Colin Cunningham whose 2 K’s earned him his second career save.
Following an unearned Green Terror run in the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals answered with the game’s final score. With one out in the inning, Sullivan hit yet another single to the short stop, and was immediately able to move back into scoring position by stealing second. Once again, the freshman was able to score on a single to center from Kuczarski. The game would stay at 4-1 all the way through and allowed the team to maintain their growing momentum throughout the season.
Kuczarski and Sullivan proved to have the most impressive days for the Cardinals on the day, with the senior going three-of-four at the plate and drove in two runs. Sullivan had one steal, scored twice, and tallied two hits.
The Wednesday afternoon victory keeps the Cardinals well ahead of their marks from the prior season, where the team was a meager 7-8 through their first fifteen games and 0-2 in Landmark Conference play. The team looks to continue their early success on top of the conference as they return to Conference play in a three-game series at the Drew University Rangers this weekend, March 25th-26th. The Cards won two-of-three against the Rangers in last season’s tilt, and hope to repeat the effort.