|Casey DeSarno||Allie Hotchkiss||Jennifer Sweeney|
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The University of Scranton kicked off play at the 2019 Landmark Conference Championships with a bang, as the Royals upset 10th-ranked and top-seed Moravian, 5-2, in the opening game of the Championships on Friday morning.
In their second game of the day, the Royals fell short against Susquehanna, as the River Hawks rallied from a late deficit to knock off Scranton, 9-6. With the results, the Royals moved to 29-13 overall for the season.
Scranton 5, Moravian 2 | Box Score
In the opening game of the Championships, the Royals used a four-run fifth inning to pull away from top-seeded Moravian and spring a three-run upset.
To open the game, both teams could not plate a run against Scranton sophomore starter Jennifer Sweeney (Wind Gap, Pa./Dumont) and Moravian starter Alexandria Scheeler entering the bottom of the third inning. But, there, Moravian scored a pair of runs off of Sweeney to open a 2-0 lead after three.
Entering the fifth inning, Scranton couldn't do much of anything against Scheeler, as they had just one hit in the first four innings of action. But, everything changed for the Royals in the frame.
To kick it off, the Royals had back-to-back singles, which enabled sophomore Allie Hotchkiss (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Charles W. Baker) to knock home freshman Erika Witt (Suffern, N.Y./Suffern) to make it a 2-1 game, then Moravian made a costly error trying to throw Witt out at home plate, which enabled sophomore Maggie Donnelly (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Our Lady of Mercy Academy) to score from third to tie the game up at 2-2.
Next up was junior Casey DeSarno (Wall Township, N.J./Wall) and she delivered a big RBI double that scored Hotchkiss, giving Scranton the lead for the first time on the day just like that at 3-2.
The Royals then added an insurance run later in the frame, as freshman Jessica Indelicato (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) scored DeSarno on an RBI groundout, giving Scranton a 4-2 lead after four and a half.
In the sixth, the Royals added another run off a sacrifice RBI fly out by Donnelly that scored junior Megan Zinn (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan), which was all the support Sweeney needed to finish off the game, as, over the final four innings, she did not allow a run.
Holding a three-run lead into the seventh, Sweeney made quick work of Moravian to end the game, retiring the side in order to sew up Scranton's first win ever over the Greyhounds at the Landmark Conference Championships.
Overall in the win over Moravian, Indelicato was Scranton's only player who had multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4, as the Royals posted seven hits in the victory. Sweeney, meanwhile, moved to 13-7 on the year with her complete game victory.
Susquehanna 9, Scranton 6 | Box Score
The win over Moravian advanced Scranton into the third game of the day Friday against Susquehanna, who blew out Catholic in the day's second game, 12-2 in five innings.
In the game, the Royals struck first in the top of the third, as sophomore Mackenzie Duffy (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Lackawanna Trail) knocked home Witt on an RBI single with two outs, giving the Scranton an early 1-0 lead on the River Hawks. Then, in the fourth, DeSarno had a two-out RBI hit of her own, as her run-scoring double brought home sophomore Ryann Kemmerling (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown Community) to put Scranton up, 2-0.
But, Susquehanna struck back, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth, then two more in the bottom of the fifth to take their first lead of the day at 3-2 entering the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth, however, the Royals tallied four runs to take their biggest lead of the game at 6-3, as freshman Heather Alich (Bath, Pa./Northampton Area) got the scoring started with an RBI single that scored Donnelly to tie the game up at 3-3.
Two batters later, Hotchkiss roped an RBI double that scored DeSarno to give Scranton the lead back at 4-3. With one out, Scranton proceeded to score their next two runs on a Susquehanna error with Duffy up (that scored sophomore Meaghan Dowdell (Parlin, N.J./Old Bridge)), and on a Zinn RBI fielder's choice that scored Hotchkiss, giving the Royals a 6-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
But, in that frame, Susquehanna exploded for six runs to take the lead back at 9-6. Down by three entering the top of the seventh, the Royals were able to get the tying run at the plate with one out, but back-to-back outs ended the game, giving the River Hawks the come-from-behind win.
Overall in the Susquehanna game, DeSarno continued swinging a hot bat, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Alich, meanwhile, was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Duffy posted two RBI in the defeat. In the pitching circle, Dowdell (16-5) took the loss, as she allowed five earned runs in an inning of relief work.
Scranton will now return to action on Saturday in the final elimination game of the Landmark Championships with a spot in the championship round against Susquehanna on the line. The game, which starts at 12 p.m., will pit the Royals against the winner of the Catholic-Moravian game that will open play Saturday.
For more on the 2019 Landmark Conference softball championships, click here.