Senior Ian McIntosh (Newtown, Pa./LaSalle College H.S.) had three hits including the 100th of his career on Sunday night as The University of Scranton defeating visiting Elizabethtown 11-6 in key Landmark Conference baseball game at Volpe Field.
The Royals (14-18, 8-8) hold a half game lead over Drew in the battle for the fourth and final spot in the Landmark Conference playoffs heading into the final conference games of the regular season to be played next weekend. The Rangers, who hold a head-to-head tiebreaker of Scranton, are 7-8 in conference play after rallying for an 8-7 walk-off win over Catholic on Sunday.
Drew will play a three-game series at Elizabethtown next weekend while Scranton closes out the regular season with a doubleheader at Moravian next Saturday. With the tiebreaker favoring the Rangers, the Royals need to finish with one more win than the Rangers to qualify for the postseason tournament.
In a game that had its start time pushed back five hours due to rain, the two teams combined to score 14 of the contest's 17 runs in a wild fourth inning.
Elizabethtown (12-24, 5-10 Landmark) went ahead in the top of the fourth with five unearned runs as back-to-back throwing errors by the Royals with two outs allowed the Blue Jays to score the game's first run. The visitors then followed with a two-run single and a pair of bases-loaded walk to claim a 5-0 lead.
Scranton countered with a huge bottom half of the fourth, scoring nine runs on five hits, four walks, one hit by pitch, and one wild pitch to take a 9-5 advantage.
Junior Brandon Peters (Peckville, Pa./Valley View) drew a pair of bases-loaded walks in the inning while sophomore Anthony Lambroia (East Northport, N.Y./Commack), junior Travis Adams (Clark, N.J./St. Joseph's Metuchen), and sophomore Matthew Pinto (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) had RBI singles to lead the Royals in the frame as four of the host's runs were unearned.
Scranton extended its lead to 10-5 in the home sixth by taking advantage of another error by the Blue Jays before pushing its advantage to six runs the following inning on an RBI base hit by sophomore Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal).
Elizabethtown closed out the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the eighth on an RBI double, which was the only one of the game's 18 hits by either club to go for extra bases.
McIntosh finished the evening 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Harding, sophomore Kevin Johnson (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central), and freshman Chris Wagner (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) added two hits apiece for the Royals, who doubled up the Blue Jays in hits for the game, 12-6.
Junior starter Kyle Bravin (Washington Township, N.J./Westwood Regional) took a no-decision after pitching two scoreless innings before handing the ball off to sophomore Matt Morrow (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic), who was charged with five runs, all of which were unearned, while striking out one batter in 1.2 innings on the hill.
Senior Matt McDonald (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) would go on to pick up his second win of the season after recording the final out of the fourth inning for the Royals.
Freshman Ryan Heiser (New Milford, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional) tossed four strong innings, surrendering just one unearned runs on two hits while striking out one batter while classmate Josh Lydon (Shavertown, Pa./Dallas) retired the Blue Jays in order in the ninth with a pair of punch outs.
Scranton next hosts Wilkes on Tuesday evening in a non-conference tilt starting at 5 p.m. at Volpe Field.