Sophomore Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) continued his torrid season on Tuesday, breaking The University of Scranton's single-season triples record and finishing a home run short of the cycle, but visiting Wilkes defeated the Royals 6-4 in non-conference baseball action at Volpe Field.
Harding, who ranks among the top-10 in the country with a .477 batting average this season, went 3-for-4 with a two RBI and two runs scored. The sophomore outfielder led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his eighth triple of the season to set a new program record for triples in a season, breaking the previous mark set by John Rushefski in 1993.
Wilkes (16-20) put together three straight two-out singles in its first at-bats on Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead, but Scranton (14-19) answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first when freshman Chris Wagner (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) drew a bases loaded walk level the score at 1-1.
The Royals went ahead in the bottom of the second as freshman Mason Boettger (Old Forge, Pa./Old Forge) scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Harding, but the Colonels plated four runs on four hits in the visitor's third to reclaim the lead, 5-2.
Harding hit his record-breaking triple to the right field fence to start the home fifth and scored Scranton's third run on an RBI single from junior Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy (Maine)). The following inning, Harding doubled to left center to bring in freshman Tyler Kirsten (Wallenpaupack, Pa./Wallenpaupack Area), bring the Royals to within a run at 5-4.
Wilkes added an insurance run on an RBI single in the top of the eighth to make it a 6-4 ballgame and the Colonels' bullpen retired six of the final seven batters it faced to close out the win.
Freshman James Gadue (West Hartford, Conn./Hall) suffered the loss after allowing four runs on six hits while striking out one batter in two innings on the mound.
Senior Matt McDonald (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) surrendered one run in an inning of work, junior Travis Adams (Clark, N.J./St. Joseph's Metuchen) tossed a pair of perfect innings while senior Pat Rohr (Audubon, Pa./Devon Prep) added a scoreless inning.
Junior Sam Flannery (Hop Bottom, Pa./Mountain View) pitched the final three innings, yielding one run on two hits for the Royals.
Scranton returns to the diamond on Thursday when they welcome Elmira to Volpe Field for a non-conference game starting at 5 p.m.