The Army Black Knights continued their dominance of the Patriot League by sweeping the Holy Cross Crusaders on Sunday afternoon by scores of 9-4 and 5-4. The wins by the Black Knights give them their sixth Patriot League title under Joe Sottalano as they have now made the NCAA Tournament in back to back seasons for the first time since they completed the feat in the 2004 and 2005.
In Game 1, Army starter Chris Rowley pitched a complete game scattering eleven hits while striking out four batters and giving up three runs (two earned) to up his record 9-3 on the year. He just kept the Crusaders off balance by showing good breaking stuff spotting his fastball.
Leading the offense for the Black Knights was second baseman Grant Van Orden who went 3-3 with three RBI including a stolen base also. Mark McCants, Patrick Mescher, Jacob Page, and Andrew Johnson also had two hits in the game.
Game 2 was a much different battle as Holy Cross couldn’t force a winner take all game three as a Mark McCants single to right field in the bottom of the ninth drove home Harold Earls to clinch the Patriot League Tournament Championship for the Black Knights.
Brian Hapeman was able to toss the final 3.1 innings without allowing a run to pick up the win. Getting the loss for the Crusaders is John Colella who gave up a run in 3.2 innings of work. Leading the Black Knights offense in the second game was Harold Earls who went 4-5 with four runs scored. The beneficiary of Earls being on base all game was cleanup hitter Mark McCants who went three for five with three RBI.
This is the Crusaders third loss in the Patriot League Championship Series in the last four years and two of those losses coming in Worcester. The Crusaders continue to be able to reach the championship game but end up losing their composure as seen by them making five errors in the first game today and three in the second game. One example of this was catcher Stephen Wadsworth airmailing the second baseman after a play at the plate in the first inning. Holy Cross throughout the day played extremely tentative with many situations of Army having runners on first and third. The Holy Cross coaching staff instructed the catcher not to make the throw down to second setting up the Black Knights to put two runners in scoring position in many key situations.