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LANDMARK BASEBALL: Rosner's RBI single completes Catholic's comeback against Susquehanna

(Posted May 2, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Catholic University's Matt Rosner line drive single into left field plated Joseph Maca from second with the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning as the third-seeded Cardinals upset no. 2-seed Susquehanna University, 17-16, in Game 2 of the 2008 Landmark Conference Baseball Tournament on Friday at Langdon-Goodale Field in Huntingdon, Pa.

The Crusaders (18-20) held a 14-0 lead over Catholic heading into the sixth inning, and were still up 16-8 over the Cardinals going into the top of the ninth.

Catholic (24-13-1) rallied with eight runs in the frame, including two-run doubles from Maca and a two-run single to right-center by Mike Goodman. Pinch hitter Sean Earley capped the ninth-inning portion of the comeback with his two-out, two-run double to right center that scored Patrick Quintana and Robbie O'Brien.

Cardinal reliever Michael Bzozowski came on in the bottom of the ninth in place of Brendan McGowan, and struck out the side to force extra innings.

Bzozowski also managed to work his way out of a jam in the bottom of the 10th inning, after hitting Susquehanna lead-off batter John Lunardi, putting a runner at first with no outs. Lunardi was caught stealing second base, and Barry Fetter struck out to put the Cardinals one out away from the win.

Tyler Reichard reached on a fielding error by Catholic shortstop Rosner, again putting the tying run aboard, but Bzozowski forced Chris Price to ground out and end the game.

"That's the beauty of baseball: there's no shot clock, there's no time clock, and anything can happen and you have to believe it can happen," said Catholic head coach Ross Natoli.

"Sometimes you push the right buttons and sometimes you don't; I guess today luck was on our side, but the credit goes to the players. Sean Earley with the big double to tie it, and Matt Rosner with the big hit to win it in the last inning; Joey Maca stealing a base to put himself in scoring position รข?" it was one of those games everybody's going to remember for a long time," said Natoli.

Susquehanna put up multiple runs in each of the first four innings to take a 14-0 lead over the Cardinals, including a two-run home run by Kyle Wertman to key a three-run first inning. The Crusaders posted four runs in the second on two-run singles by Price and Wertman, and added another five runs in the third on four hits and two Catholic errors.

Meanwhile, Crusader starter John Lunardi retired the side in three of the first four innings, and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before losing it on a lead-off double to center field by Patrick Quintana, that was misjudged by Susquehanna centerfielder Wertman.

That was the first of four hits and four runs Lunardi would yield in the sixth, including a two-run shot over the left field fences by Goodman.

"(Lunardi's) pitch count was getting up there as the game went on, and to our guys credit we kept working the count with him, got him up over 100 pitches where they had to make a change eventually, we were fortunate enough to get to their other guys and take advantage of the opportunities," said Natoli.

The Cardinals tacked on four more runs in the seventh, including a pair on a Quintana double to left field, setting the stage for the Catholic comeback in the ninth.

Bzozowski picked up the win for the Cardinals, striking out four of the seven batters he faced in the relief appearance and improving his record to 4-1.

Susquehanna reliever Josh Weber gave up the final three runs in the Catholic comeback, and took the loss to fall to 0-3.

Catholic advances to Saturday's winner's bracket game against top-seed Juniata College at 12:30 p.m. on Juniata's Langdon-Goodale Field. Susquehanna will face fourth-seed University of Scranton in an elimination game at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

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