KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Just one day after dropping the series opener - a game in which the Greyhounds were clearly in control on both sides of the ball – the United States Merchant Marine Academy proved that their great start to the season was no fluke, taking two of three from Moravian College to pull into a two-way tie for first place in the Landmark Conference. The Mariners defeated Moravian 6-2 and 8-7 on Saturday as they improve to 15-8 overall and 9-3 in Landmark Conference play. The Greyhounds fell to 18-12 overall and 9-3 in conference matchups.
The Mariners were faced with a daunting matchup in the first game of the doubleheader, as the Greyhounds' staff leader, All-American senior Brendan Close took the mound. Close was 5-0 heading into Saturday's action and hadn't lost a game since the 2010 season. For the first four innings it seemed as if that trend would continue, as the Mariners came up empty against Close, and the Greyhounds amassed a two- run lead on an RBI single in the top of the second and an RBI double in the top of the fourth, both by senior Blake Shortall.
But the Mariners bats would come alive in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy would find a way to do something no team had accomplished in two years – defeat Brendan Close. Sophomore Danny Collins led off the inning with a single and junior Dustin Thomsen quickly followed with a double. Freshman Jacob Wood singled to right to drive in both runners and instantly tie the game at two. But the Mariners wouldn't be satisfied with a tie. Senior John Hubach reached on a bunt single and senior Andy Martin was hit by a pitch. With bases loaded and one out, sophomore Warren Hartmann came to the plate and crushed a double to deep left field, knocking in two and advancing Martin to third. Freshman Cameron Stadele followed with a sac fly RBI, and sophomore John Martin doubled to drive in Stadele. By the end of the inning, the Mariners had gotten to Close for six runs on six hits and only stranded one baserunner.
Andy Martin, who started the game for the Mariners, would only allow one hit to the Greyhounds for the remainder of the game as the United States Merchant Marine Academy went on to defeat Moravian College, 6-2. Andy Martin earned the win for the Mariners, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out six over seven innings of work. Close took the loss for the Greyhounds, surrendering six runs on eight hits over six innings.
In game two, both teams jumped onto the scoreboard early. The Greyhounds opened with a four-run first off of junior Dustin Thomsen, but the Mariners answered back immediately with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Andy Martin singled up the middle for what would be the first of five-consecutive singles by the Mariners in the inning. Hartmann, Stadele, John Martin and Collins would all single in the inning, with Hartmann, John Martin and Collins recording RBI's. Thomsen would also reach on a fielder's choice, allowing another run to cross the plate. At the end of the inning, the score was tied 4-4.
The Mariners would take the lead with another four-run frame in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a three-run home run by Thomsen. But the Greyhounds would begin to chip away at the Mariners 8-4 lead, recording an RBI single from Rock in the top of the fourth. They would add two more runs in the top of the sixth inning on another hit from Rock, this time an RBI double down the left field line. Stadele came on in relief of Thomsen, but allowed another run to cross the plate as Ryan Luke knocked in Connell from third with a ground out to short. Stadele escaped the inning without allowing the greyhounds to tie the score, and shut them down again in the top of the seventh to nail down the win as the Mariners defeated the Greyhounds by a final score of 8-7.
Thomsen earned the win for the Mariners, allowing seven runs, four of the earned, on 15 hits over five innings of work. Tommy Mariano took the loss for the Greyhounds, allowing eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits over two and a third innings.
Next up for the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the Mariners will host Mount Saint Vincent on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.