Mount St. Joseph's Steve Matcuk and Loyola's Tom Dugas each pitched and hit well for their teams in yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference game.
Matcuk lacked only a home run to hit for the cycle, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Dugas hit a third-inning grand slam to turn a two-run deficit into a two-run lead.
The similarities end there, however. Matcuk raised his record to 3-0 and the fourth-ranked Gaels beat the 11th-ranked Dons, 11-5. It was the fifth loss in the past six games for the Dons (7-6, 6-6).
Matcuk, 6 feet 1, 160 pounds, threw only 50 pitches in five innings, yielding two hits with two strikeouts and a walk. By the sixth, he was resting on the Gaels' bench, along with starting second baseman Tim Trotta (2-for-3, three RBI).
"I hadn't been hitting too well lately, so this feels good," said Trotta, who is 5-2 as a pitcher, with an earlier 6-1 win over Loyola. "Coach wanted to see what Steve could do this time, and this was a good way to get ready for the playoffs."
The Gaels' Ben Daniels (4-1) retired six straight -- striking out one -- to protect Matcuk's win.
The 6-4, 245-pound Dugas (3-2) had control problems, walking five batters -- all of whom scored -- in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out one, gave up eight hits and hit a batter, leaving with two runners on and Loyola down 8-5.
John Baer replaced Dugas, walking two batters to make it 9-5, after which Chris Marshall replaced Baer and gave up the last runs on a walk and a wild pitch.
"Coach told me to get in there and just go as long as I could. It's an experiment for our rotation," said Matcuk, gearing up for Thursday's MSA tournament. "Even after getting behind, we never let down."
The Dons had a short-lived 1-0 lead after Marshall's first-inning double scored Jim Silvestri.
But Dugas walked three of the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the inning, including lead-off hitter Robbie Blaylock, who tied the game on Matt Neighoff's sacrifice fly to center.
The Gaels (13-3, 9-3) led 3-1 after Matcuk doubled to score catcher Dominic Steward and first baseman Buddy Edmond.
Loyola loaded the bases in the third on two errors and an intentional walk of Marshall, then led 5-3 after Dugas' 300-foot shot.
"I thought, 'We're back in the game,' " said Dugas. "But they jumped on us, taking the life out of us."
In the bottom of the third, Steward knocked in his 21st run, making it 5-4. Then Edmond walked and Matcuk singled before both were doubled home by Trotta. Ryan Kenealy's run-scoring single made it 7-5.
In the fifth, Matcuk tripled and Trotta singled -- making it 8-5 -- before Ryan McGonigal's base hit chased Dugas.