The University of Scranton baseball team was up to its typical weekend shenanigans on Saturday, rallying twice for a pair of walk-off victories over Susquehanna at Volpe Field.
The Royals (20-18, 11-6 Landmark) scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to win the opener, 3-2, then outdid themselves in the second game, scoring twice in the ninth to tie the game, then scoring twice in the 10th to win it, 6-5.
The victories secured the no. 3 seed in next weekend's Landmark Conference playoffs and came six days after the Royals had clinched a playoff berth with a wild 11-10 win over Moravian in 11 innings on Sunday, April 29, that saw them overcome an 8-1 deficit in the seventh inning.
In the first game on Saturday, senior Chase Standen (Newtown Square, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) came off the bench to deliver a game-winning, pinch-hit, two-run double to center field. In the second game, senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) came through with a two-out, two-strike, two-run double to win it in the bottom of the 10th.
The walk-off hit in the second game was Trotter's third of the game. In the bottom of the first inning, he led off with a single to center field, the 214th hit of his career, a new Landmark Conference career record. He broke the previous record of 213, held by Moravian's Kevin O'Keefe (2009-12).
Game 1 – Scranton 3, Susquehanna 2
Scranton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from freshman left fielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal Central). But Susquehanna (16-22, 8-9) answered with two in the top of the fourth, setting up the Royals to win it in the seventh.
The game-winning rally started with an out, but Trotter walked and senior catcher Kevin Nolan (Ossining, N.Y./Fordham Prep) followed with a bunt single. After Harding reached on an error to load the bases, Standen came to the plate as a pinch hitter and crushed a 1-0 pitch to straightaway center to win it.
Senior lefty Brian Markowski (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) went the distance for his fifth win, allowing two runs, both earned, on four hits and three walks while striking out five.
Game 2 – Scranton 6, Susquehanna 5, 10 innings
The Royals jumped ahead in the first on an RBI double by sophomore first baseman Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy). After the River Hawks tied it in the top of the third, Haag struck again with an RBI sac fly for a 2-1 lead.
But Susquehanna scored single runs in the sixth, eighth and ninth for a 4-2 lead going to the bottom of the ninth. Nolan led off with a walk, and after the first out was made, Trotter singled to move Nolan to third. Senior second baseman Brad Schneider (Ambler, Pa./LaSalle College H.S.) followed with an RBI fielder's choice that scored Nolan, but erased Trotter for the second out with Scranton down, 4-3.
That brought Harding to the plate, and he hammered an 0-2 pitch over the right fielder's head for an RBI triple to score sophomore pinch runner Travis Adams (Clark, N.J./St. Joseph's-Metuchen) to tie the game.
Susquehanna again scored in the top of the 10th, but the Royals decided to have a little more fun. A walk and a hit by pitch put two runners on before a fielder's choice at third base for the first out. Another fielder's choice left runners on the corners before a walk loaded the bases for Trotter. He worked the count to 1-1 and then hooked a line drive down the left field line to score a pair and send the Royals' dugout into a frenzy for the second time in a few hours.
Trotter finished with three hits, two RBIs and a run, and Haag had two hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore righty Bobby Hegarty (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh) worked 6 2/3 solid innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out one for a no-decision.
The Royals and River Hawks will complete their Landmark Conference series on Sunday with a single game at 12 p.m.