LAPLUME, Pa. – Sophomore first baseman Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy) drove in four runs and freshman left fielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal Central) made a diving catch that saved two runs to help The University of Scranton baseball team defeat Muhlenberg, 5-4, on Tuesday at Keystone College's Christy Mathewson Field.
Haag had the key blow at the plate, slamming a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh that broke a 3-3 tie. His shot to deep left-center field drove in senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) and sophomore shortstop Travis Adams (Clark, N.J./St. Joseph's), who had both singled with one out.
Haag's go-ahead hit wouldn't have been possible if not for Harding's tremendous defensive play only moments earlier. Muhlenberg (7-9) used a single and a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs, and Mules' designated hitter Jon Capra followed by lacing a line drive down the left field line. But Harding got a good jump on the ball and made a diving catch, snagging the ball just before it landed for the final out of the inning.
The Royals (7-5) scored in the bottom of the first when Trotter scored the first of his three runs by walking, moving to second on a balk and advancing to third on a ground out. He scored when Haag's shallow pop fly was bobbled by the right fielder before gaining control for the out.
Muhlenberg knotted the score with an unearned run in the top of the third, then took a 3-1 lead with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fourth. The Royals responded with two runs in the fifth when Trotter singled sharply to center and the ball got past the center fielder, allowing sophomore second baseman Tim Gailor (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) to scamper all the way home from first. Trotter went to third on the play and scored two batters later on Haag's RBI ground out.
The Mules scored a run in the top of the ninth and had the bases loaded with two outs when junior righty Bryan Carmon (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) got a swinging strikeout to notch his second save of the season.
Freshman righty Matt Morrow (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) got the win with two shutout innings of relief. He gave up two hits and a walk while striking out one. Sophomore righty Zack Papillo (Germantown, Md./Good Counsel) worked the first six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and no walks while striking out one.
Trotter, Harding and Gailor each finished with two hits to pace the offense. Harding also added a stolen base in the victory.
The Royals will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Elizabethtown, Pa. for a Landmark Conference game against Elizabethtown at 3:30 p.m.