BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The Holy Cross baseball team could not overcome a 10-run second inning by Gardner Webb, despite coming back within three runs, falling by a final 13-9 score at John H. Moss Stadium. With the decision, the Crusaders combine for a record of 2-6 while the Bulldogs move to 9-3 on the season. Senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) led the squad offensively, going three of five at the plate with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Gardner Webb hit the Holy Cross pitching staff for 10 runs in the bottom of the second inning, combining for seven runs on three hits off sophomore starter Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I) and two runs on four hits off senior reliever Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.). The Crusaders answered with three runs in the top of the third to make it a 10-3 game after getting runners on with a Bulldog throwing error and three consecutive hits. Freshman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) started the rally with a single as sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Laurendeau followed with RBI singles. Senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) brought the last run home on a sacrifice fly, scoring Maldonado as junior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) and Barry also touched home in the inning.
Holy Cross continued to close the gap in the top of the fourth, scoring four times on three hits. Freshman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) began the inning with his first career double as Sintetos followed with a walk. Maldonado loaded the bases with his second single of the day in the next at-bat and Laurendeau drew an RBI walk, scoring Ahmed. Oxford then hit a two-run single on the first pitch he saw, rounding Sintetos and Maldonado. Laurendeau and Oxford successfully attempted a double steal, as Laurendeau was able to score on an error by the catcher, bringing the score to 10-7. Both teams scored two runs in the fifth as Laurendeau notched a single to right field, scoring Maldonado for his third RBI of the day. Senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) made it a 12-9 game one batter later, scoring Laurendeau, who stole second, on a single to center field.
The Bulldogs capped off the scoring with one run in the seventh as Holy Cross could not put together another offensive rally, grounding out in to a double play to end the game and falling by the final 13-9 score.
Holy Cross used a total of six pitchers in the affair as Hayward recorded the loss, dropping to 0-1 on the season. He pitched 1.1 innings, allowing seven runs on three hits. Gardner Webb's Brock Wilson earned the winning decision, going to 1-0 on the season after pitching 2.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. Oxford tied Laurendeau's team-high with three RBI while Maldonado collected three hits, one RBI and scored three runs. In all, Holy Cross scored nine runs on 11 hits and made four errors while the Bulldogs tallied 13 runs on 13 hits, committing four errors.
Holy Cross competes in the Terry Sisisky Classic next, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth. The round-robin series between Virginia Commonwealth, Princeton and the Crusaders begins tomorrow, March 11 at 3:00 p.m. when the Crusaders face the VCU Rams. All games will be played on The Diamond in Richmond, Va.