Baseball Defeated, 15-4, By #13 Louisiana State To Wrap Up Series

Eric Oxford

BATON ROUGE, La. – Senior first baseman Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) tied the Holy Cross career record in RBI, driving home one of the Holy Cross baseball team's four runs against No. 13 Louisiana State, as the team fell by a 15-4 score at Alex Box Stadium. With the decision, the Crusaders finish the series down 0-3 on the season while the Tigers continue their unbeaten streak to 7-0. Oxford went 2-for-4 at the plate on the day, also making five put outs at first base.

After a scoreless first inning, the Tigers tacked on three runs off four hits against junior starting pitcher Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) in the bottom of the second inning, moving ahead 3-0. Freshman Kyle Stearns (Orland Park, Ill.) was the team's only offensive spark in the top of the third inning, collecting his first collegiate hit, a single up the middle. The Crusaders could not bring Stearns around to score however, and LSU hit a two-run home run off Koneski in the bottom half of the third, going up 5-0.

Holy Cross broke into the scoring column in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) hit into an RBI-out, scoring fellow sophomore Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) who had reached on a fielder's choice and got into scoring position after stealing second base. LSU had an answer for the Crusaders' run, scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth and three times in the bottom of the fifth as sophomore John Colella (Herdon, Va.) came into replace Koneski in the fifth. Down 10-1, senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) drove home his first run of the series in the top of the sixth inning, scoring fellow senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) with a single to left field. Ciardiello would make it to third base, but no further as Holy Cross loaded the bases but came up empty. At the end of the sixth inning, the Crusaders trailed, 10-2.

Oxford tied the Holy Cross career record in the seventh inning, doubling down the right field line with no outs to bring around sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for the Crusaders' third run of the game. Sophomore Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) came is as the squad's third pitcher in the bottom of the seventh as the Tigers broke the game wide open, tallying five times on seven hits off Hayward, pushing the score to 15-3. Wadsworth then went deep for the first time this season in the top half of the eighth inning, knocking out a solo shot to left field. Wadsworth's home run would end up being the final run by either team in the game, as Holy Cross dropped the final game of the series 15-4.

Koneski takes the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits in four innings pitched. Tiger starter Ben Alsup improves to 2-0 after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings pitched. In all, Holy Cross scored four runs on nine hits, making three errors while the Tigers tallied 15 runs on 17 hits, committing one error.

Holy Cross continues the 2011 campaign with a trip to Wilmington, N.C. for a round robin series with North Carolina Wilmington, Villanova and St. Joseph's. The first contest of the three-game series will be against Villanova on Saturday, March 5. First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. at Brooks Field.