By Jimmy Cassidy
A lack of hits and an excess of errors resulted in a frustrating loss for the Catholic University’s baseball team on Tuesday, April 5th. The Cardinals hosted the nationally ranked Frostburg State University Bobcats at Robert J. Talbot Field on a very chilly April afternoon in front of a small group of parents bundled up in blankets and gloves.
The #16 Bobcats reached base throughout the game thanks to six hits, six walks, and six Catholic errors on their way to a comfortable 7-2 win. The loss drops Catholic’s overall record to 10-13, while Frostburg moves to 16-7 on the spring season.
The Cardinals did not have it going for them with the bats them all evening. The team collected just four hits in the game, and two of them did not come until their final turn to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning. The first CUA base knock came from junior infielder Wyatt Schmidt, who singled up the middle in the bottom of the 3rd, and would then go on to score as a result of a Frostburg error. The first run for the Cards tied the game at 1-1 and responded to the Bobcats’ run in the top half of the first frame.
The man responsible for shutting down the Catholic offense was the Bobcats’ pitcher Ryan Callahan. The left-handed thrower delivered pitches with a bit of a hitch in his windup in each of the 26 batters that he faced. He gave up just two hits and his one run was unearned. The southpaw from Severna Park, Maryland, seemed to pitch harder as the day went on, and worked very quickly up on the mound for Frostburg. Callahan worked ahead in the count and put CUA batters in unfavorable positions on the way to a 7 inning performance with 0 runs earned.
In the top half of the innings it was CUA’s freshman Mason Belcher who did a solid job to keep his team in the game. The lefty gave up just 2 hits in 5 innings of work on the mound for the Cards. One Frostburg run did cross home plate in the 1st after an outfield error for Catholic, and the other run scored on a fielder’s choice in the 5th inning. Belcher kept the #16 Bobcats in check in his outing but did just not receive the run support he needed for a win.
Down 2-1 in the 5th inning, Catholic could not capitalize on a chance to get back into the game. Junior Paul Burmester led the inning off with a walk after a long time at bat, and fellow junior Wyatt Schmidt moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. With one out, and a runner in scoring position, the next to Cardinal batters were retired by Callahan to end the minimal threat.
Junior Luc Sebrechts came on to relieve Belcher in the 6th inning and did not have a particularly memorable outing. The righty struggled to find the strike zone and walked the first three batters he faced. Head coach Ross Natoli had seen enough, called for another pitcher from the bullpen, and the day was quickly done for Sebrechts.
Senior Josh Martin trotted out to take the mound in an uninviting bases-loaded situation for the Cards. He induced a slow grounder that could not be handled by the Catholic infield, and resulted in a one run error. Martin was not dismayed however, as he struck out the next two batters he faced. After the next batter flew out to right field, three Bobcat runners stood stranded after a nice job of damage control was done by Catholic’s senior right-hander.
Still though, the Cardinals had no answer for Frostburg pitching and the lead extended to 7-1 after another rough defensive inning in the top of the 9th for Catholic. Coach Natoli gave other players some game action in the effort of sending 6 pinch hitters up to the plate to get an at bat in the bottom of the 9th.
Sophomore Brennan Cotter roped an opposite field line drive over the left fielder’s head for a double with one out, and junior Mike Iglesia followed with a walk. Kevin Nader added a second hit of the inning to score Cotter, and the pinch hitters equaled the amount of hits that the starting lineup collectively hit in just one inning. The string of consecutive runners did not likely induce a “don’t call it a comeback” to be said by any spectators or players, but it was a positive note to an otherwise forgetful game. The next two batters were retired and the game ended with a score of 7-2, a loss for the Cards.
After taking two of three games in their last Landmark series over Scranton, CUA will travel to play Susquehanna for a three game set. The games are slated for Saturday and Sunday, April 9th and 10th. Catholic will be back in action at home on Thursday, April 14th, as they host Bridgewater College at 4 PM.