BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College baseball team begins its eighth straight trip to the Landmark Conference Tournament on Saturday, May 7 when the second seeded Greyhounds host third seed Elizabethtown College in a three-game semifinal series at Gillespie Field in Bethlehem.
Game one of the series is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. Saturday with the second game to follow 30 minutes after the contest ends. The if necessary game is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Sunday, and all three games in the series are nine inning affairs. The series can go into Monday if the weather forces games to be delayed, and the winner of the series will advance to the Landmark Conference Championship series on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14 at the top remaining seed. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors while children under 10 and all Landmark Conference students, faculty and staff with ID are free.
This is the second year that the Landmark Conference has used the three-game series format for the semifinals and championship after a double elimination tournament the first seven years the conference existed. Last year, the Greyhounds hosted and defeated Elizabethtown, 2-1, in the semifinals before hosting the finals series as well against eventual conference champion Susquehanna University.
The Greyhounds, under the direction of tenth-year head coach Paul Engelhardt who has a career mark of 237-171, have posted a 21-19 overall record this spring. Moravian recorded a 14-7 slate in the Landmark regular season after winning its final six conference games. The Hounds and the Blue Jays both finished at 14-7 but the Greyhounds earned the higher seed by winning the weekend series between the two schools, 2-1, in early April.
"We haven't had the consistency that we would have liked to see this season, but we are playing a lot of younger guys who fought back and made it to the tournament," Engelhardt said. "We feel our weekend pitching staff can compete with anyone in the conference, and our hitting has been coming around recently. We like the format of the tournament started last year since we play a three-game series each weekend."
Moravian enters the tournament hitting .311 with 427 hits, eight triples, 27 home runs, just one shy of the school record for a season, 57 stolen bases and having out-scored its opponents, 261-227.
Leading the Greyhounds at the plate is senior third baseman Alex Bull, who is hitting .412 with 63 hits, 40 runs, 12 doubles, three homers and 31 RBIs. Bull has had a pair of hitting streaks that have reached 17 games this spring including a current 19-game hitting streak, and Bull has reached base safely in all 40 games in 2016. Bull has moved into 13th in school history with 131 career hits, and he is tenth with 195 assists in the field during his career.
Junior outfielder Anthony Gaetaniello is batting .378 this spring with 51 hits, 28 runs, eight doubles, four triples, a homer, 25 RBIs and a team-high 18 stolen bases, and he is 11th all-time with 142 career hits and fourth with 48 stolen bases. Senior first baseman Charles Savite has a .338 average with 47 hits, 29 runs, 12 RBIs, 12 doubles, a triple, five homers and a team-high 35 RBIs. Savite has become the third player in school history to reach 200 career hits with a total of 202, and he owns school records for games played with 162, at-bats with 616 and putouts with 1,320.
Freshman outfielder Mike Mittl has a .336 average in his debut season to go along with 50 hit, 33 runs, seven doubles, one triple, five homer runs, 24 RBIs and 13 stolen bases while fellow freshman outfielder Austin Markowski has a .316 average with 42 hits, 39 runs, six doubles, a triple, a team-high six homers, 21 RBIs and a team-leading 22 walks. Senior outfielder/designated hitter Cameron Leon has added a .303 average with 40 hits, 25 runs, five doubles, five homers and 30 RBIs while freshman shortstop Evan Kulig is hitting .302 with 26 hits, 16 runs, three doubles, a triple and nine RBIs.
Senior catcher Mike Roethke has collected 31 hits this season to move into 14th all-time with 130 career hits, and he has added 16 runs, two doubles, one homer and 21 RBIs. Roethke has also thrown out six runners, and he is fourth in school history with 744 putouts and tied for eighth with 142 games played. Freshman Tim Heard and junior Nicolas Ampietro have platooned at second base with Heard contributing 23 hits, eight runs, four doubles and 12 RBIs and Ampietro adding 17 hits, 11 runs, five doubles and four RBIs. Sophomore first baseman Logan Welles has 10 hits, a run, two doubles and seven RBIs this spring. Freshman outfielder Chase Rogers has eight hits, three runs, a homer and seven RBIs in his debut season while freshman shortstop Joey Ferolie has six hits, two runs and two RBIs.
Freshman catcher Andrew Koenig has three hits, three runs and three RBIs while sophomore infielder Joey Maker has contributed three hits, two runs, a double and two RBIs. Sophomore outfielder La'Ron Smith has two hits and three runs while senior catcher Dylan Runne has two hits. Senior infielder Matt Nesto, sophomore catcher Ezra Rawdon and freshman catcher Steve Lazicki all have one hit on the year with Rawdon scoring twice and Lazicki driving in a run. Sophomore infielder David Wodzsiz has seen action in three games.
On the mound, the Greyhounds have been led by freshman Rhett Jacoby, who is 7-2 on the year with a save, a 3.12 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 60.2 innings. Jacoby's strikeout total is the eighth highest in a season at Moravian, and he leads the squad with nine starts and six complete games. Sophomore Ryan Kahn has a 3-3 mark with a 0.79 ERA, three complete games, two shutouts and 44 strikeouts in 45.1 innings of action, and Kahn's four career shutouts are third in school history.
Senior Ian Carbone has a 2-0 record with a 3.37 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 34.2 innings of action while Ampietro is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 43 innings. Senior Anthony Zaloga is 3-3 this season with 20 strikeouts in 26.1 innings, and Zaloga became the 14th pitcher in school history to reach 100 career strikeouts, now with 101.
Senior Tommy Natale-Drown has a 1-1 record with four strikeouts in 11.2 innings while sophomore Bryan Schoch is 1-0 with 14 strikeouts in 14.1 innings of action. Sophomore Dan Morrin is 1-2 with a pair of saves and 32 strikeouts in 30.2 innings while senior Hunter Guard has two saves, a 1-3 record and 11 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. Sophomore Clay Weidemoyer has one save and a pair of strikeouts in 8.1 innings while senior Anthony Martino has added eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings of action.
Sophomore Nicholas Mazzella has nine strikeouts in 21.2 innings this spring. Freshman Kevin Shields has recorded three strikeouts in 4.1 innings while freshman Billy Roethke has one strikeout in 3.2 innings of work. Savite has tossed three innings this season while sophomore Adam Howard has a strikeout in 2.2 innings. Senior J.J. Jordan recorded a strikeout in his one inning so far in 2016.