Baseball Stifles Princeton, 8-2

Alex Maldonado

RICHMOND, Va. – The Holy Cross baseball team's pitching staff had its day against Princeton, combining for one earned run and striking out nine to lift the squad to an 8-2 win in the second day of action at the Terry Sisisky Classic on the Diamond. With the result, the Crusaders improve to a record of 3-7 while the Tigers drop to 1-3 on the season. Junior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) pitched just over five strong innings in the affair, allowing four hits and striking out four batters. Sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the Crusaders' offense, going three-for-five at the plate, collecting his first career triple and bringing home three runs.

After Maldonado doubled in the first at-bat of the game, senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) extending his hit streak to six games, singling to center and scoring Maldonado for the first run of the game as the Crusaders took an early 1-0 lead. The Crusaders went ahead 3-0 in the top of the second as Maldonado continued to stay hot at the plate, collecting a two-run triple with two outs, scoring freshman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.), who reached base on a single, and senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) who drew a walk to put runners in scoring position. The Tigers notched their first run in the bottom of the second, scoring on a passed ball. One run was scored by each team in the third inning, as sophomore Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) broke through with an RBI single, bringing around fellow sophomore Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.). Princeton then registered its first earned run off Croglio in the bottom half of the inning, bringing the score to 4-2 game on a RBI double.

The Crusaders capitalized on four costly Princeton errors in the top of the fourth and fifth, scoring four more runs. In the fourth, Barry walked and made it to second on a fielder's choice play. Maldonado then connected for his third RBI hit of the day to bring the freshman home. McCrea then scored his second run of the game on an error by the Princeton starting pitcher, Zak Hermans. Senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) followed the erroneous play with a single to left center, bringing home Maldonado as Holy Cross took a 7-2 lead. Wadsworth tallied the team's eighth run in the top of the fifth, scoring on an error by Princeton's reliever, Kevin Link, after doubling off him in his plate appearance. Croglio continued to pitch well from the mound, allowing no hits in the fourth and fifth before exiting the game with a six-run cushion and one out in the sixth inning.

Sophomore John Colella (Herndon, Va.), who replaced Croglio, retired eight straight batters, including three strikeouts as neither team scored in the seventh and eighth innings. Holy Cross would not score again in the game as sophomore Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.) came in to close out the contest in the bottom of the ninth. He faced three Tigers, striking out the first two batters and getting the final out on a grounder that rolled back to the mound. With Boyce's solid inning the Crusaders advanced past the Tigers by the final 8-2 score.

Croglio picked up the winning tally, improving to 2-1 on the season. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and striking out four. Colella and Boyce did not allow any hits, walked one batter and combined for five strikeouts. Hermans took the loss after surrendering seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in 3.2 innings. In all, Holy Cross scored eight runs on 10 hits while the Tigers scored two runs on four hits, making five errors. Puentes and Wadsworth both had two-hit affairs with Wadsworth also notching a run-scored and RBI.

Holy Cross returns to action for its second game today at 4:00 p.m., playing in a rematch against Virginia Commonwealth on the Diamond.