Third-seeded Catholic scored five unanswered runs, the last coming on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning, to defeat The University of Scranton 5-4 in an extra-inning thriller in the first elimination game of the Landmark Conference Championships on Saturday at Volpe Field.
The Cardinals (27-15) advance to Saturday's second elimination against the loser for the day's winner's bracket game between Susquehanna and Moravian. The Royals end their season with a 17-22 overall record after reaching the postseason for the second year in a row.
Scranton got all of its offense on day the in the top of the third, scoring four runs on three hits and one Catholic error. Freshman Chris Wagner (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) brought home sophomore Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) with the game's first run on an RBI single to left center.
Sophomore Kevin Johnson (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central) then launched a three-run home run, his second of the season, over the left field wall to give the Royals a 4-0 advantage.
Catholic battled back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, using a two-run double and an RBI single, to make it a 4-3 ballgame.
The Cardinals tied the game on a Scranton fielding error in the bottom of the ninth before walking off with the win on a Tyler Shaffer's long RBI single with one out in the bottom of 10th.
Senior starting pitcher Pat Rohr (Audubon, Pa./Devon Prep) took a no-decision after going striking out five batters with no walks in five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits.
Sophomore Matt Morrow (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) tossed three scoreless innings with five strikeouts and one hit against.
Freshman Josh Lydon (Shavertown, Pa./Dallas) yielding an unearned run and stuck out one while allowing one hit in 0.2 innings while classmate Ryan Heiser (New Milford, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional) was charged with the loss with one run against on a pair of hits while picking up one K in 0.2 innings.
Harding went 4-for-5 with a triple and a run scored, capping his historic sophomore season with program records of 70 hits and nine triples to go along with a .464 batting average, the third-best in Scranton history.
Johnson added three hits and three RBI while Wagner added a pair of hits for the Royals, who held a 13-11 edge in hits for the game.
Catholic starter David Gately went 9.2 innings, taking a no-decision with four runs against on 13 hits and two strikeouts. Collin Brown was credited with the win after striking out the only batter he faced to end the top of the 10th.
Christian Jones led the Cardinals with three hits, Ryan Tracy had two hits, and Bailey Lewis drove in a pair of runs in the win as the Catholic went extra-innings for the second time in as many games this postseason.