UNION, N.J. – The University of Scranton baseball team put two runners on base in the top of the ninth inning, but could not come up with a clutch hit, falling to Kean University, 2-1, in the team's season opener on Sunday afternoon.
The Royals (0-1) put two on with two outs after a hit by pitch and a walk. Sophomore first baseman Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy) hit the ball hard, but right at the shortstop for the final out of the game.
Kean (6-3) scored single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead before Scranton struck back with a run in the fourth. Haag singled to start the inning and moved to third on a one-out double by junior designated hitter Ian McIntosh (Newtown, Pa./La Salle College H.S.). Haag then scored on an RBI ground out by freshman left fielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal Central).
Scranton received a strong pitching performance from senior lefty Brian Markowski (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) and sophomore righty Bobby Hegarty (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh). Markowski took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out two in four innings. Hegarty worked four shutout innings of relief, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out one.
The Royals finished the afternoon with eight hits. Senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J/Cranford) and senior catcher Kevin Nolan (Ossining, N.Y./Fordham Prep) both had two hits and a stolen base. Senior shortstop Justin Howell (Millington, N.J./Watchung Hills) also had a double.
The baseball team will be back in action on Saturday, March 10, when they take on SUNY Maritime in a doubleheader at 1:30 p.m. that starts a six-day, seven-game spring break trip to Fort Pierce, Fla.