WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) struck out a career-high 10 batters but the Holy Cross baseball team's offense could not find a groove versus Big East foe St. John's as the squad fell 8-2 at Fitton Field. With the result, the Crusaders move to a record of 7-8 while the Red Storm goes to 9-8 season. Koneski pitched six innings, faced 25 batters and allowed four runs on six hits.
Senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) gave the Crusaders their first run in the bottom of the first, extending his hit streak to 11 games and scoring sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on single to the St. John's shortstop. Holy Cross made it a 2-0 game two batters later as junior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) hit a sac fly to score senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.), who also singled in the inning. At the end of the first, the Crusaders had a 2-0 edge, scoring their runs on four hits. Koneski retired nine straight batters after letting up a double in the first at-bat of the game, holding the Red Storm to two hits total and striking out six through the first three innings.
St. John's came back to tie it, 2-2, in the top of the fourth, scoring on a double and then a throwing error by Koneski. The Red Storm then tagged Koneski for two runs on three hits, including two run-scoring doubles, to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth.
Sophomore Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) came in to replace Koneski in the top of the seventh. Holy Cross' offense stuggled, as the Crusaders scattered just two more hits from the second through seventh innings. St. John's then scored three times in the top of the eighth, including a two-run home run to drop Holy Cross back, 7-2. The Red Storm added one last run in the top of ninth while the Crusaders went three up, three down in the bottom half of the innings, falling by the final 8-2 score.
Despite the strong effort from the mound, Koneski falls to 1-3 on the season. St. John's starter, Brendan Lobban, gets credited the win, improving to 3-0 after pitching six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out eight. In all, Holy Cross scored two runs on seven hits and made three errors while the Red Storm scored eight runs on 11 hits.
Holy Cross returns to action on Tuesday, March 22, traveling to its third Big East opponent, UConn. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Conn.