Baseball Avenges Brown With Doubleheader Sweep

Eric Oxford

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Every single player in the starting lineup for the Holy Cross baseball team marked at least one hit to highlight the second game of a doubleheader sweep against Brown at Murray Stadium as the Crusaders won the first game, 8-5, and then followed with an 18-11 victory in game two. With the day's results, Holy Cross registers a 19-16 overall record while the Bears collect a record of 11-24 overall. The team recorded five home runs over the two games and finished with a total of 11 extra base hits. Juniors Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) and Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) and sophomore Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) led the charge with a total of five RBI each on the day.

Game One
The Crusaders jumped on Brown starter Matt Boylan, collecting three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning as Oxford notched two RBI on a bases loaded single to highlight the outing. Up 3-0 heading into the top of the third inning, Holy Cross broke out for an additional four runs on three hits to take a 7-0 lead, including a two-run double by Tkowski, followed by a two-run home run from Ciardiello, his seventh this spring.

Senior Bobby Holmes (Dedham, Mass.) earned the start for the team, pitching three very strong innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two of the batters he faced before being relieved by freshman Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.). Hayward would allow the first Brown run to cross home plate, as the Bears scored one run on one hit in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the score to 7-1. Holy Cross increased its lead to 8-1 in the top of the seventh and final inning as Tkowski doubled for the second time, scoring freshman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.). Brown answered with four runs in the bottom half, but could not make a full comeback as freshman Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) came in to pitch the final two outs, protecting the Crusaders 8-5 lead and earning his first collegiate save.

Hayward would earn the win, moving to 2-3 on the season. He pitched just over three innings, allowing five runs on six hits with one strikeout. Boylan would be tabbed with the loss, falling to 2-4 on the season. He pitched just over two innings, allowing five runs to score on four hits.

Game Two
Each team scored in the first inning, but it was Brown who took the upper hand, marking four hits and two runs to go up 2-1. The Crusaders answered with two runs in the top of the second inning as freshman Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) tripled for the second time this season, scoring Ciardiello and then touching home base himself on a Brown throwing error, giving his team a 3-2 lead. With one swing of the bat, Oxford broke a 3-3 tie next with a three-run home run in the top of the third inning, tallying his third long ball of the season as Holy Cross went ahead 6-3.

The Crusaders increased their lead to 8-3 in the following inning as senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.) marked his first hit of the day, scoring freshman Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who led off with a double. Senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) rounded the bases for the final run of the inning on a Brown error. The Bears battled back for two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, chasing starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) out of the game and bringing the score to 8-5 after four innings of play. Junior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Sills made it a six-run game, 11-5, as McCrea hit a two-run, bases clearing triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Sills in the top of the fifth inning.

The rest of the game became a slugfest as Ciardiello and Puentes homered in back-to-back at bats, collecting a total of three runs scored in the top of the sixth inning. The back-to-back home runs marked the first time this season a Crusaders duo registered such a feat. Brown then scored six runs, including a grand slam in the bottom half of the sixth inning to make it a three-run game, 14-11. Perry would start another rally for the team, homering in the first at-bat of the seventh inning as Holy Cross finished the inning with four more runs scored on four hits, taking back a commanding 18-11 lead and eventual final score.

Sophomore John Pedrotty (Portsmouth, R.I.), who came in to the game in the fourth inning, picked up the winning decision to improve to an unblemished 5-0 on the season. He pitched a total of 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on two hits and striking out one. Brown's Walter Albee would tally the losing decision, falling to 0-1 on the season. He allowed three runs on two hits.

On the day, Holy Cross scored 26 runs on 29 hits, while the Bears scored 16 runs on 19 hits.   

The Crusaders will travel to Annapolis, Md., next to take on the Navy Midshipmen starting April 24. The weekend will feature a four-game set between the two squads with a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 and then another doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 25. The games will be played at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.