SCRANTON, Pa. - The Catholic University baseball team battled back from an early deficit for a 5-4 walk-off victory in extra innings over the Scranton Royals on Saturday afternoon at Volpe Field.
A three-run homerun gave the Royals a lead for most of the contest, but a valiant complete game outing from starting pitcher David Gately kept the third-seeded Cardinals in the contest. After coming from behind to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Tyler Shaffer delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th to knock the Royals out of the Landmark Conference tournament.
Scranton struck first in the top of the third inning with a hit-and-run RBI single with one out, followed by a three-run homerun to go up 4-0.
The Cardinals' bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth with some clutch two-out hitting. Junior Connor Sullivan started the rally with a single to left field with two down, and senior Ryan Tracy evaded a tag by first base for an infield single to put men on first and second.
Senior RBI leader Bailey Lewis came through with a shot down the left field line for a 2-RBI double. Then junior Nolan Lundholm broke his conference tourney slump by drilling an RBI single to bring in Lewis to cut the lead to 4-3.
The four consecutive hits with two outs in the fifth broke a 16-inning scoreless streak for Catholic spanning across three different contests.
Gately calmed down after a big Scranton third inning for four runs. Totalling 147 pitches, the senior zoomed through the seventh and eighth innings to give Catholic a chance down just one run. In 9.2 innings of work, the right-hander scattered 13 hits, gave up four earned runs, and struck out two batters.
A leadoff single from junior Jeff Guile and sacrifice bunt from Tighe Watson put the Cardinals in business in the bottom of the ninth. A hard hit ball got past the shortstop and scored pinch runner Matt Tesoriero to tie the game 4-4.
In his first at-bat of the tournament, Shaffer ended the game with a walk-off single in the 10th after a leadoff walk from Michael Doody and nice bunt single from junior Christian Jones got runners in scoring position.
The longest performance of his career, Gately pitched into the 10th inning. It topped his complete game win against Elizabethtown on March 19, a 94 pitch nine-inning performance. Fellow senior Collin Brown relieved him in the 10th after a two-out double.
Catholic will play this evening at 6 p.m. for a chance to compete in the conference championship. The Cardinals play the winner of Susquehanna and Moravian.