YAPHANK, N.Y. (March 22, 2015) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball team swept Drew University in a Landmark doubleheader on Sunday out at Baseball Heaven in Suffolk County, taking the first game by the final of 3-2 before winning the second on a walk-off in extra innings, 9-8, in eight.
The Mariners improve to 7-3 overall after the sweep and remain undefeated in conference play with a 5-0 record against Landmark opponents. The Rangers fall to 3-8 (2-2 Landmark).
Sophomore Patrick Morgan (Roxboro, N.C.) allowed just two hits in seven innings in the opener and a timely two-run home run by senior Cameron Stadele (Alpharetta, Ga.) in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference in the game.
Morgan struck out two batters and had only one run against – an unearned run in the top of the fifth on a dropped fly ball on what should've been the third out, which allowed a Drew baserunner to score all the way from first.
His counterpart for Drew was equally as effective through his first five-plus innings, as the Rangers' sophomore starter Patrick Boyle had allowed just five hits and struck out four while giving up one run before Stadele's bomb to left field that plated freshman Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.).
The Mariners' first run of the game came in the bottom of the first when freshman Jacob Sithong (Orlando, Fla.) led off with a single through the right side and then advanced to second on a balk. With junior Quinn Fleming (Ashburn, Va.) at the plate, Boyle tried to pickoff Sithong at second, but the throw was muffed by the shortstop at second and the ball dribbled into the outfield. Sithong took off for third and the centerfielder picked the ball up and threw it way over third and out of play, allowing Sithong to score to give USMMA the 1-0 lead.
Freshman Bryson Campbell (Cool, Calif.) was 3-for-3 in the game. Morgan earned the win, his first of the season, while Boyle suffered the loss and fell to 2-1.
The second game saw Sithong light it up at the plate, as he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.
After Drew started the game with a run in the top of the first, Sithong responded in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff solo homer to right center to tie the game.
Drew scored another run in the top of the second and then two more in the third to take a 4-1 lead.
Sithong came around to score again in the third as part of a four-run third inning for the Mariners, which put them back ahead, 5-4. Sithong hustled home from second on a one-out single up the middle by Barnes. Fleming came across later in the inning after a failed pickoff at third base that saw the pitcher throw the ball up the left field line. Campbell followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Barnes and then Stadele scored on a single by senior Joseph Policastro (Hauppauge, N.Y.).
The Rangers responded two innings later with three runs in the top of the fifth to pull ahead 7-5, but USMMA pulled back within one in the bottom of the fifth on a sac fly by Campbell that scored Bares.
A solo home run by Drew junior Bobby Miskura put the visitors up by two, 8-6, in the top of the sixth.
The Mariners started the bottom of the sixth with two straight outs, but junior Zack De St. Germain (Eagle, Idaho) singled through the left side and then Sithong blasted his second homer of the game over the right field wall to tie the score up at 8-8.
Three-straight 1-2-3 innings brought the game to the bottom of the eighth inning, where freshman Steve Lucy (Leawood, Kan.) led off with an infield single and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Alex Gambino (Haddonfield, N.J.). Lucy was caught in a rundown after De St. Germain hit a shot back to the pitcher and was tagged out at second.
De St. Germain then swiped second base to set up the winning play, an RBI single up the middle by Sithong.
Senior John Kret (Chappaqua, N.Y.) got the starting nod and went four innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and striking out one. He was replaced by junior Jeff Suciu (Zanesville, Ohio) in the top of the fifth and Suciu lasted two innings and gave up two runs on three hits with two Ks. Freshman Josh Ellington (San Leon, Texas) picked up his team-leading third victory after pitching a scoreless (and hitless) seventh and eighth innings.
Drew senior Matthew Hunter was on the long end, giving up the game-winner in the bottom of the eight after pitching 1.2 innings of two-hit ball. Sophomore Tommy Broyles started for the Rangers and got tagged for five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings. Junior reliever Dylan Baxter hurled 3.1 innings and gave up three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.
The two teams will be back at it on Monday night, for the final game of the three-game series. It will be a single, nine-inning game that will begin at 7 p.m. out at Baseball Heaven. Live stats will be available for the game at this link.
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