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April 6, 2013

Merchant Marine Sweeps Conference Double Header at Moravian

Bethlehem, PA – The USMMA baseball team defeated the defending Landmark Conference regular season champions twice on the road Saturday afternoon.  Starting pitchers Timothy Arner (Allentown, PA) and Cameron Stadele (Alpharetta, GA) both went the distance to earn a win while giving up only one earned run in seven innings.  The sweep guarantees the Mariners a third consecutive Landmark Conference series victory.

Merchant Marine (11-8, 7-4 Landmark) used aggressive base running to kick-off the scoring in the fourth inning of the opening game.  The Mariners twice successfully executed a double steal as Stadele and Nicholas Kopacka (Saugus, CA) both recorded a RBI to make it 3-0 along with the aid of a Greyhounds error.  Keil Silva (Castleton, CO) made it 4-0 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt with the bases loaded that resulted in a RBI single.  Joseph Policastro (Hauppauge, NY) followed Silva by ripping a double to right center field to chase home two more runs.  Warren Hartmann (Wyckoff, NJ) rounded out the huge inning with an infield RBI single as USMMA held a 7-0 advantage heading to the bottom of the fourth inning.

Moravian (12-12, 5-6 Landmark) managed only four hits in game one against Arner.  The junior hurler struck out five batters in his complete game victory to up his third win of the 2013 season.  Hartmann, who also stole three bases, provided an insurance run in the sixth inning with a double to plate Andrew MacKinnon (Buffalo, NY).  USMMA secured an 8-1 triumph by turning a 6-4-3 double play for the final two outs of the opening game.

The Greyhounds built an early cushion in the second game of the double header as the home team pushed across three runs in the first three innings, including two unearned markers in the first frame.  The Mariners chipped into the deficit in the fourth on the strength of a Kopacka RBI single up the middle.  However, the inning would come to an early end on the same play with a runner being thrown out at third base for the final out.

Merchant Marine would hang up five more runs in the fifth inning as the rally started with a Jacob Wood (Richmond, VA) single followed by Policastro reaching on an error.  MacKinnon drove in the Mariners' second run of the game with a single to center field.  Hartmann then roped a RBI double down the left field line to tie the game at 3-3.  After Danny Collins (Sleepy Hollow, NY) walked Stadele, the game two starting pitcher, helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to push the Mariners in front, 4-3. 

Jake Martin (San Diego, CA) widened the gap with a two-run double as the junior gave the Mariners a 6-3 lead.  That would be plenty of support for Stadele who allowed just one base runner in the final four innings as the Mariners finished the sweep with a 6-3 win in the nightcap.

The USMMA baseball team will look to record its first three-game sweep of the 2013 season tomorrow afternoon; first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 pm.