Senior Michael Gaeta and sophomore Zach Dignam each hit home runs, but their efforts did not prevail as the Royals lost 14-5 against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Tuesday at Christy Mathewson Field on the campus of Keystone College.
Gaeta currently has the third-best batting average in the Landmark Conference (.432). His teammate, senior Mike Trabulsi, is also among Landmark Conference leaders with a batting average of .409.
The Mariners are currently in fourth place in the Landmark Conference and have a one-game advantage over the sixth-place Royals.
Merchant Marine Academy took an early 5-0 lead by the end of the first inning. They scored again, but the Royals responded by scoring one run in the second inning then two more runs in the third. The Mariners then extended their lead by scoring four runs in the fourth inning to take a 10-3 lead.
Previously, Scranton had more success in non-conference games Thursday and Friday. The Royals defeated the Defenders of Baptist Bible College 14-1 Thursday then won their next game over the Owls of Maine-Presque Isle 15-3 Friday.
Royals head coach Mike Bartoletti became the winningest coach in University baseball history after the Royals defeated the Defenders. Bartoletti is currently in his 12th season as head coach and the win was his 183rd victory. The record was previously held by the late Bill Howerton, who coached from 1987-2002.
The Royals are currently in sixth place in the Landmark Conference but have only played six games. They have played the fewest conference games than any other Landmark team and the fewest number of games overall among all Landmark Conference opponents so far. First-place Moravian has played twice as many games as the Royals.
Junior Matt Calamoneri was named University Athlete of the Week for his efforts in the team’s win against Juniata College April 2. Calamoneri pitched all seven innings and gave up just three hits and no runs.
Scranton then dropped a game to the Misericordia University Cougars 17-7. The Royals hung close in the beginning by tying the game 1-1 at the end of the first inning. The Cougars then outscored the Royals 5-0 in the second inning, but the Royals would not give up and scored two more runs in the third.
The Cougars then jumped out to a bigger lead when they scored eight runs in the fifth inning, making the game 16-4. In the loss, sophomore Kyle Hamer led the Royals with two singles and two RBIs.
The Royals will return to action when they travel to Selinsgrove for a three-game series against Susquehanna College this weekend. The Royals will play second-place Susquehanna at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.
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