SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Starting pitcher Luc Kocher (Middlebury Center, Pa. / Elkland) pitched his third career complete game as the Susquehanna baseball team tied the program record for most wins in a season by defeating Catholic 5-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The Crusaders (25-11, 13-5 Landmark) won their 11th game at Harold Bollinger Field and tied the program single-season wins record set in 1995, a team that won the 1995 Middle Atlantic Conference championship.
Kocher needed 111 pitches against the Cardinals (21-17, 10-8 Landmark) as the righty struck out seven batters and walked only one. Kocher surrendered one unearned run in the top of the fourth and gave up only four hits to Catholic.
SU took two out of three games from the Cardinals in the weekend series and earned the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference tournament, held May 3-5 at No. 1 seed Moravian. Catholic is the No. 3 seed while the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy took the No. 4 spot.
The Crusaders play Catholic on Day One of the Championship, Saturday May 3, at 2:30 p.m.
SU outhit the Cardinals on Sunday, 10-4 and were aided by three Catholic errors. Freshman Taylor Luckenbill (Pottsville, Pa. / Nativity BVM) led all players with three hits while scoring two runs and driving in a pair. Junior Nick Kennedy (Brookeville, Md. / Good Council) had two base knocks and scored twice.
The Orange & Maroon scored early in the contest as Luckenbill cracked a base knock and later scored on a throwing error by the shortstop, giving SU a 1-0 edge.
In the bottom of the third, Jared Musilli (Branchville, N.J. / High Point Regional) led off with an infield single and would touch home plate thanks to a run-scoring double to left center by Kennedy. After Kennedy was moved to third with a sacrifice bunt by Ty Raubenstine (Elizabethville, Pa. / Upper Dauphin Area), Luckenbill singled through the right side, scoring Kennedy and handing SU a 3-0 lead.
Following a single to right center by Dylan Glassmire (Doylestown, Pa. / Central Bucks South), Bryan Palsi (Brielle, N.J. / Manasquan) ripped a base knock through the left side, plating Luckenbill with the Crusaders taking a 4-0 advantage.
Catholic got on the board in the top of the fourth, scoring an unearned run and trimming the SU lead down to 4-1. But in the bottom of the seventh, SU played small ball and tacked on another run to take a 5-1 cushion. Four straight bunts, including an RBI single bunt by Luckenbill, put the Crusaders up by four runs.
Despite giving up a single in the top of the ninth, Kocher shut down Catholic, striking out the last batter for the complete game.
SU travels to Chester, Pa. to take on Widener on Monday, April 28 at 4 p.m. before competing in the Landmark playoffs, the teams' first appearance since 2011.