ast weekend, the Elizabethtown College baseball team faced the defending conference champions, the Alvernia University Crusaders, in a two-day three-game series that brought together the Commonwealth Conference’s two best pitching staffs. The Blue Jays managed to win one of the three games, handing Alvernia its second conference loss.
On Saturday, the Blue Jays (10-10, 4-6 CC) headed to Alvernia (16-6, 8-3 CC) in Reading, Pa. for an early afternoon conference game. First-year pitcher Kevin Elwell, who is 2-2 with a season ERA of 2.89, pitched a solid game. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 innings. He also struck out five batters to bring his season total to 15.
In the top of the fourth, Etown first got on the board with an RBI single by junior first-baseman Luke Gatti. Alvernia, however, tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, the Crusaders took the lead with an RBI single by Matt Patterson. Alvernia got two late insurance runs in the bottom eighth against first-year pitcher Richy Masciarelli. The Blue Jays could not find an answer to the Crusaders’ pitching and dropped the first game of the series 4-1.
Etown managed one unearned run on four hits against Alvernia’s starter Aaron Benusis, and finished the game with five hits. Crusaders reliever Kevin Becker-Menditto retired the side in order in the ninth inning to pick up his conference-leading fifth save of the season.
On Sunday, the two teams headed to Kevin Scott Boyd Stadium for a double-header. In game one, Alvernia pitcher Mike Weinhold (4-0) dominated the Blue Jays. Pitching seven innings, Weinhold gave up no runs on six hits. He also frustrated Etown with a season-high 13 strikeouts. The Crusaders scored single runs in the third and seventh innings and took game two of the series 2-0.
Like the first game in the series, the scoring in game three was started by the Blue Jays. First-year second-baseman Kyle Fackler and sophomore outfielder Sean Jones hit first inning doubles, and Jones drove Fackler in for the first run of the game. Alvernia scored the tying and go-ahead runs, both unearned, in the top of the second, as Etown saw that their early lead was trumped.
Fackler came through for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the second as he drove in sophomore outfielder Dylan Manning to tie the game at 2-2. The Crusaders escaped the inning as Etown left two runners in scoring position.
Neither team could get anything going until the bottom of the fifth. Senior Kyle Gable began the inning with a single and made his way to second on a groundout by Gatti. Gable then scored on a junior Tyler Weary single through the left side, putting the Blue Jays on top 3-2. That run would be enough for Etown as they held on to win, avoiding the sweep by the defending conference champions.
Junior pitcher Kristopher Davis (2-1) earned his second win of the season. He allowed two unearned runs on eight hits with a strikeout and no walks in his third complete game of the season. He forced eight groundouts and 11 fly-outs. Davis has not given up a single earned run in his last 20.1 innings pitched. The Blue Jays outhit the Crusaders 9-8 in the last game of the series.
On Friday, the Messiah College Falcons will make the trip to Elizabethtown to battle the Blue Jays. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at Kevin Scott Boyd Stadium. Etown will then head to Messiah’s home field on Saturday to finish the three-game series with an away double-header. The Blue Jays will finish a five-game conference baseball weekend with a double-header at Albright College in Reading, Pa. on Sunday.