Sophomore right-hander John Sieve pitched a brilliant one-hit shutout today to guide Catholic University to an 8-0 romp over top-seeded Richmond in the first round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference South Division baseball tournament.
The Cardinals (16-13) will take on cross-town downed rival George Washington, which downed host James Madison, 8-4 today, in Friday's second round of the double-elimination tournament (1 p.m.).
The loser of the CU-GW game will play Madison in a 4 p.m. consolation game Friday for the right to compete in Saturday's final round. JMU eliminated Richmond, 11-4, in today's second game.
A bad-hop single by Richmond's Al Bowles in the sixth inning, which bounced over the shoulder of Cardinal shortstop Al Perez, prevented Sieve from hurling a no-hitter. Sieve, a graduate of Arlington's Bishop O'Connell High, never was in trouble as he benefited from a fleet-footed, surehanded Catholic defense.
The Spiders (23-17) were hitting 311 as a team coming into the game. But Sieve, who walked three and fanned four, used a combination of slow, overhand curves and radar-controlled fast balls to spin a web of uncertainty around the Richmond hitters. He was at his best after Bowles' hit. Sieve closed out the affair by retiring the last 11 Spiders.
Cardinal Coach Tim McCormick had predicted defense would be a key factor in this tournament. But the Cardinals also showed some pretty good offense, especially on the basepaths.
Right fielder Steve Conroy - who went four for five, scored three runs and stole a base - scored when Bowles overran his one-hop single to center in the eighth for a three-base error. Cardinal first baseman Jim McGregor was safe in the second inning when he slid head first into first base to knock the ball loose after an infield chopper.
The Colonials did not have it quite as easy, starting slowly. Thanks in part to a hit batsman, a two-base throwing error by second baseman Drew Ingram and a pair of early singles by James Madison left fielder Jeff Cempre, the Dukes found themselves holding a 3-1 lead through five innings.
But in the top of the sixth, the Colonials (19-7) got base hits from Ingram, Mike Howell and Jim Goss and drew a pair of walks and the result was three runs and a 4-3 lead. Madison's Mike Estes drove in a run with his seventh-inning single to tie the score at 4.
GW erupted for the rest of its runs in the eighth inning. Catcher Scott Carcella started it off by blasting the first pitch of the inning over the 340-foot mark on the right field fence.
The Dukes (29-12) wanted to ask for mercy when GW followed Carcella's shot and a two-base throwing error with Goss' hit, a two-run double by Ingram and a run-scoring single by Tom Beebe.