BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The No. 6 Moravian College softball team earned a 3-1 win in the opening game of a Landmark Conference doubleheader with The University of Scranton Saturday at Blue & Grey Field to clinch the top seed in next week's Landmark Conference Tournament while the Royals posted a 3-1 victory in the second game to split the twinbill.
The Greyhounds finish the regular season with a 29-5 overall record and an 11-1 slate in Landmark Conference action, and Moravian will host the Landmark Conference Tournament for the third straight spring and seventh time in 11 years at Blue & Grey Field since the conference began in 2007-08. The triumph in the first game was also the 1,000th win for the Moravian program as the Blue and Grey finish the regular season at 1,000-363 since 1980.
Moravian had seven hits in the opener while senior pitcher Josie Novak improved to 15-2 in the circle as she allowed a run on six hits and two walks to go with 12 strikeouts, her third double-digit strikeout total of the season.
The Hounds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Freshman right fielder Brooke Wehr led off the inning with a solo home run, her team-leading ninth home run of the season and the fifth time she's connected on a solo shot to start the Greyhounds' first at-bat of the game. Junior center fielder Kat Spilman connected on a one-out double and would race home on an RBI double by senior catcher Janae Matos, her 48th career double to move into a tie for third in school history.
Scranton cut Moravian's lead in half with a run in the top of the fifth inning.
The Blue and Grey added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth frame. Freshman second baseman Shannon Brogan connected on a one-out single and raced home on an two-out RBI double by senior first baseman Jean Markovic.
The second contest would see the Greyhounds limited to three hits, all coming in the seventh inning when the Hounds scored. Spilman and Matos started the frame with singles before a fielder's choice. After a single by junior third baseman Madison Shaneberger loaded the bases, Markovic hit an RBI ground out to score junior pinch runner Ashley Gindle. Moravian was unable to get another hit to tie the game.
Scranton had scored single runs in the first, second and third innings to build its 3-0 lead.
Senior Amanda Carisone took the loss in the circle for Moravian, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts.
Prior to the start of the first game, the Hounds honored seniors Carisone, Markovic, Matos, Novak, Jackie Marshall and Megan Taylor. The group has helped Moravian to a 140-25 record so far in their careers including a 44-4 Landmark Conference regular season slate.
The Greyhounds will open the 2018 Landmark Conference Tournament at Blue & Grey Field on Friday, May 4 with a game versus fourth seed The Catholic University of America at 11:00 a.m. The remaining schedule for the first day of the double-elimination tournament will see second seed Scranton taking on third seed Susquehanna University at 1:00 p.m. and the winners of the first two contests meeting at 3:00 p.m.