CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Holy Cross baseball team broke out for 15 hits and eight runs, winning by a score of 8-3 after falling 10-6 in the first game of a doubleheader against Charleston Southern at Buccaneer Ballpark. The Crusaders finish their South Carolina road trip with a 2-5 overall record while the Buccaneers tally an overall record of 4-7 on the season. Freshman Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) shined in his first save opportunity for Holy Cross, pitching three strong innings allowing just three hits and one run in the Holy Cross win.
Charleston Southern would score six unanswered runs in the first four innings, collecting eight hits in all, including a triple and marking the score at 6-0. Holy Cross picked up its first two runs in the top of the fifth inning, as freshman Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) hit his first home run in a Crusaders uniform, a two-run shot to right field. The Buccaneers added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to stay up by seven runs, 9-2.
The Crusaders exploded for four runs in the top of the seventh inning. The squad earned three consecutive hits from freshman Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.), junior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) and senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) to bring the four runs across home plate and getting within four runs of Charleston Southern, 8-6. The Buccaneers answered with one final run in the bottom half of the seventh inning, however, going back up 10-6. Both teams followed with scoreless eighth and ninth innings as Charleston Southern came away with its second win of the three-game series, 10-6. Sophomore Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) picked up the loss in his Holy Cross debut, going to 0-1 on the season. He allowed nine runs on six hits in four innings pitched. The Crusaders totaled six runs on nine hits with one error while Buccaneers finished with 18 runs on 10 hits and not making one error. Junior Tyler Thornburg marked the win for Charleston Southern, improving to 2-1 on the season as he pitched six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits.
Holy Cross took the upper hand early in the second game, picking up three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning, including an RBI single by junior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.). Maldonado marked his second RBI of the day in the top of the third inning, as the Crusaders went up 3-0. Charleston Southern tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, and both teams scored one run in the sixth and seventh innings, bringing the score to 5-2 after seven innings total. Junior Nick Ciardello (Edison, N.J.) and Perry picked up the RBI for the Crusaders.
After a scoreless eighth inning, the Crusaders finished strong, scoring two runs on a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning to finish the game with an 8-3 victory. Sophomore Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) had another solid showing as Holy Cross' starter, pitching six innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits. He moves to 2-0 on the season. Buccaneer sophomore Charlie McCready picked up his second loss of the season, allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings pitched. In all, Holy Cross marked eight runs on 15 hits while the Buccaneers tallied three runs on 10 hits.
Holy Cross will travel to play the Delaware Blue Hens next weekend, beginning the three-game series on Saturday, March 13. The first game is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. at the Bob Hannah Baseball Stadium in Newark, Del.