WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Holy Cross baseball team put together a four-run third inning but could not score again, dropping a 12-4 decision to host North-Carolina-Wilmington at Brooks Field. With the decision, the Crusaders drop to a record of 2-4 while the Seahawks go to 6-5 on the season. Senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) led the team offensively with two RBI in the game, notching his third double of the season and scoring one run
The Seahawks got to junior starter Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) first, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead. Holy Cross answered with a five-hit, four-run third inning. After freshman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) and senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) reached base on singles, sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) singled to the third baseman, sneaking in Barry for the first run. After two strikeouts and a double steal by Maldonado and McCrea, Ciardiello doubled down the left field line to score both base runners. Junior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) followed with a single to center field, scoring Ciardiello and giving Holy Cross the 4-3 advantage. North Carolina-Wilmington then tied the score 4-4 in the bottom half of the third, scoring on an RBI groundout.
The Seahawks took back the lead in the fourth, scoring two runs and then added a home run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 7-4 game. Sophomore Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) replaced Koneski in the sixth, allowing one run to come across on a fielder's choice as Holy Cross fell behind, 8-4. The Crusaders' bats remained quiet as well, scattering just two additional hits through the seventh inning.
Sophomore Josh Hauser (Dallas, Texas), the fourth pitcher used by Holy Cross, allowed three runs to score with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Seahawks went ahead 12-4. The Crusaders went down in order in their final inning of work, ending the game with a 12-4 loss.
Koneski was tabbed with the loss, going to 0-2 on the season after pitching five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and striking out four batters. UNC-Wilmington's Justin Bradley earned the winning decision, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out six in five innings pitched. Reliever Steven Davies did not allow any Holy Cross hits in his 3.1 innings pitched. In all, Holy Cross scored four runs on eight hits and making two errors while the Seahawks collected 12 runs on 16 hits, committing one error.
Holy Cross takes no rest, traveling to Gardner Webb for a 4:00 p.m. contest tomorrow, March 8. The game will be held at the Bulldogs' home field, the Diamond, in Boiling Springs, N.C.