ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – The University of Scranton baseball team was playing its final two games of a five-game, four-day stretch, and the tough schedule caught up to the Royals as they dropped both ends of a Landmark Conference doubleheader at Elizabethtown on Tuesday, 10-3 and 7-6.
Scranton (14-15, 6-6 Landmark) is now in a tie for fourth place in the conference with Susquehanna, two games behind third-place Elizabethtown (14-15, 7-5) and a game ahead of sixth-place Drew (15-14, 7-5). The Royals have six conference games remaining, including three against Susquehanna on May 5-6 at Volpe Field.
Game 1 – Elizabethtown 10, Scranton 3 – box score
The Blue Jays took control with an eight-run third inning, breaking open what was a 1-1 game heading into the inning.
Senior designated hitter Brad Schneider (Ambler, Pa./LaSalle College H.S.) singled, doubled and drove in a run for the Royals. Senior shortstop Justin Howell (Millington, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) singled and drove in two, and senior catcher Kevin Nolan (Ossining, N.Y./Fordham Prep) had a double.
Freshman righty Matthew Yard (Wall Township, N.J./Wall) gave Scranton 3 1/3 innings of strong relief, allowing a run on three hits.
Game 2 – Elizabethtown 7, Scranton 6 – box score
The Blue Jays scored three times in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Royals, who had taken a 6-4 lead on the strength of a three-run fifth and an insurance run in the seventh.
Scranton trailed 3-2 after four innings, but used that three-run fifth to pull ahead. Senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) had an RBI double and Nolan and freshman left fielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal Central) followed with RBI singles.
The Royals added a run in the seventh when Howell scored on an errant pickoff throw.
Nolan finished with three hits, including a double, with two runs and an RBI. Senior third baseman Patrick Mergel (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) doubled, singled twice and scored a run, and Harding had three hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore left-hander Kyle Bravin (Washington Township, N.J./Westwood) started and went six innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits and a walk while striking out four. Sophomore righty Bobby Hegarty (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh) worked two scoreless innings of relief, allowing a hit and striking out two.
The Royals are back in action on Wednesday when they host Misericordia at 5 p.m. at Volpe Field.