By Jimmy Cassidy
A late-inning rally was not enough for the Catholic University baseball team on Wednesday, April 5th, as the Cardinals fell to local non-conference foe Stevenson University, 5-4. The Cards plated 3 runs in the top of the 8th inning in the contest to lessen the deficit to just one run, but were unable to complete the comeback.
The loss brings Catholic’s overall record to 18-6, after receiving votes in the latest d3baseball.com polls. The win for the Mustangs of Stevenson is their 5th straight, coming in the midst of a midseason resurgence, as their record now stands at 11-13.
Senior Joseph Prego got the ball for the visitors for his third start of the season, but was roughed up quickly. The right-hander gave up singles to each of the first three batters he faced, but did a solid job of damage control in limiting the Mustangs to just one run in the opening frame. Preto went three innings, giving up seven hits and two runs in the outing. Collin Brown came in to relieve and pitched three impressive innings to keep Catholic in the ballgame. The sophomore did not give up a hit and struck out five.
The Cardinals could not find a rhythm at the plate, however, as they failed to score in the first five innings of play. Stevenson’s left-handed junior Michael Remeikis handled the lineup averaging just under 10 hits per contest, allowing just three base knocks in six innings of work. Sophomore Ryan Tracy drove in freshman Cid Porter with an RBI single to get the Cardinals on the board in the 6th, but they later stranded two runners to end the inning.
Stevenson answered in the bottom half of the 7th inning with three runs of their own to increase their lead to 5-1. A two-run homer off the bat of Kevin Kopas capped the inning off to give the home team more of a comfortable margin.
The visitors did not go quietly, however, as a wild top of the 8th inning brought Catholic back into the game. The team did not care about the method of getting runners on base, they just knew they needed them to make something happen. Coach Ross Natoli’s group did not take the message lightly; after two walks, two hit by pitch, and two singles, Catholic was only down 5-4. Senior Paul Burmester drove in a run with one of his two singles on the day to lead the squad, and junior Jack Hennessy walked with the bases loaded with an RBI of his own. Senior Nicholas Kuczarski came up to bat next, and he was hit by a pitch for a third run in the inning. The Stevenson self-destruction came to a close just in time, however, as pinch hitter Anthony Ferlise struck out to end the inning, stranding three runners in the process.
That would be the end of the scoring on the day, as the Cardinals went down in order in the top half of the 9th to end the game.
Catholic will be back in Landmark Conference action for a three game weekend series against Scranton. The Cards will look to continue their strong conference play at home against a Scranton team with a 1-5 Landmark record. First pitch of game one is slated for 12 PM on Saturday, April 8th at Robert J. Talbot Baseball Field.