The University of Scranton baseball team scored five times in the top of the ninth and got a complete game victory from senior lefty Brian Markowski (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) on the mound to defeat Elizabethtown, 9-4, in Game 2 of the Landmark Conference Championship at Volpe Field on Friday night.
The third-seeded Royals (21-19) advance to face Catholic in Game 4 on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Volpe Field. The winner advances to Sunday's championship while the loser will play in Game 5, an elimination game, immediately after Game 4 is completed. Catholic, the top seed, edged fourth-seeded Moravian, 5-4, in Friday's first game.
Elizabethtown, the second seed, will face Moravian in Game 3, an elimination game, at 11 a.m on Saturday at Volpe Field. The winner advances to Game 5.
Markowski was brilliant for nearly the entire night on Friday, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits while striking out seven without a walk. He gave up all four runs in the fourth when Elizabethtown (20-18) rallied to take a 4-3 lead. But Markowski shut down the Blue Jays from there, allowing just three hits while striking out five over the last five innings. He retired the final nine hitters he faced.
But, the win wasn't as easy as it might seem with Markowski on point. The game was tied at 4 heading into the top of the ninth with the Royals coming up. They were the visitor on their home field due to Elizabethtown having the higher seed.
Scranton scored five times in that fateful ninth, the first on an RBI single by senior third baseman Patrick Mergel (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic), and the second when senior second baseman Brad Schneider (Ambler, Pa./LaSalle College H.S.) scampered home on a wild pitch for a 6-4 lead.
Junior first baseman Ian McIntosh (Newtown, Pa./LaSalle College H.S.) delivered a two-out, RBI single to extend the lead. After a Blue Jays pitching change and a walk to load the bases, senior catcher Kevin Nolan (Ossining, N.Y./Fordham Prep) hit a towering pop up on the infield that glanced off an Elizabethtown fielder's glove for an error, allowing two more runs to score for a 9-4 edge.
Markowski set the side down in order in the ninth with two strikeouts to finish of the win. It was his sixth win of the season and fourth in his last four starts, all against Landmark foes.
McIntosh led the offense by going 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Schneider doubled twice, singled, scored three times and drove in a run. Senior shortstop Justin Howell (Millington, N.J./Watchung Hills) doubled, singled twice, drove in two runs and scored a run, and Nolan finished with three hits and a stolen base.
Scranton avenged three regular season losses to the Blue Jays with the win.
Admission to Saturday's games is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students (ages 10-17). Children 9 and younger are admitted free of charge, as are all Landmark Conference students, faculty and staff with school ID.