Top-ranked Calvert scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning and led 7-1 after two innings, but had to withstand a late rally by visiting Loyola to claim a 10-8 victory in the MIAA A Conference baseball playoffs, Monday evening at Calvert Hall.

Slugging catch Alex Murphy was 4-for-4 for the Cardinals with a long home run and four RBI.  He also stole two bases.  The Cardinals wiped seven bags in the contest.

Colin Gimblet had three hits in four trips and Louis Copley collected two hits and two RBI.

Loyola, which was led by a 3-for-4 performance by Chris Girken, scored twice in the top of the third and one more in the fourth, to close back within three runs, 7-4.  Calvert Hall got all three runs back over the next two innings, before the Dons made things interesting with three in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Conor Reynolds added two hits and scored twice for the Dons, while Michael Wright walked four times and scored two runs.  Reynolds also had a double and a stolen base. Girken also doubled.

Calvert Hall is now just one win away from returning to Ripken Stadium and the tournament finals.  The Cardinals will play Gilman for the first ticket into the finals on Wednesday night at Calvert Hall (7:00 p.m.)

Loyola will also play again on Wednesday, as it awaits the winner of Tuesday’s elimination game between Archbishop Spalding and Archbishop Curley.