NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Holy Cross baseball team won the seven-inning game, 3-2 and then lost 7-3 in the nine inning game against host Columbia at Robertson Field to wrap up non-conference weekend action. With the results, the Crusaders combine for a record of 10-10-1 while the Lions go to 9-8 on the season. Senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) led the team's offense on the day, going three-for-seven at the plate, scoring one run and collecting two RBI.
The Crusaders and Lions combined for four hits through the first two innings, with no runs scored from either side. Columbia then collected four consecutive hits, including an RBI single and double off junior starter Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Holy Cross rallied back for three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead as Laurendeau knocked in the squad's first run, scoring freshman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) who walked to start the inning. Senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) followed with a two-run double, his ninth of the season, sending home Laurendeau and fellow senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.), who reached base on a walk as well.
Koneski allowed just three additional hits and struck out five Lions from the fourth through sixth innings before being relieved by closer John Colella (Herndon, Va.) in the bottom of the seventh inning. Colella got the first batter to fly out, allowed two singles and struck out two batters, including a strikeout in the last at bat of the game to protect his team's 3-2 lead and earning his fourth save of the season.
Koneski improves to 2-3 on the spring after pitching six full innings. He allowed the Lions' two runs on nine hits while striking out seven and walking just one of the 27 batters he faced. Columbia's Dan Bracey took the loss, falling to 2-2 on the spring. He allowed three runs on four hits while striking out four. In all, Holy Cross scored three runs on four hits, making one error and leaving four stranded while the Lions scored two runs on nine hits, stranding nine base runners. Four separate Crusaders collected hits as Ciardiello's double proved to be the game-winner.
Holy Cross and Columbia combined for just three hits through the first four innings as sophomore starter Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) earned his second start from the mound this season. The Crusaders broke through for two runs in the top of the fifth as the Crusaders put runners on the corners with a walk from Ahmed and single from sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Laurendeau followed Maldonado's single with an RBI groundout, scoring Ahmed for the first run. Ciardiello tacked on his first triple of the year next to score Maldonado, giving Holy Cross the 2-0 lead. Columbia answered with one run in the bottom of the fifth, chasing Hayward from the mound after collecting three hits off the right-hander to make it a 2-1 game.
The Lions then tied the score in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring their run on a sacrifice fly after tagging reliever Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) for two hits. Columbia scored another unanswered run in the bottom of the seventh, collecting two more singles and then scoring once again on a sacrifice fly to go up 3-2.
A four-run eighth inning doomed the Crusaders as Columbia advanced to a 7-2 lead, scoring all of its runs off sophomore Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.). The Lions would take advantage of every hit they put together, scoring on two singles and a sacrifice fly. Holy Cross came up with one run in the bottom of the ninth as Maldonado picked up his first RBI of the day, singling up the middle with two outs to bring around sophomore Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.). Laurendeau would send Maldonado to third on a single and Ciardiello loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch, but senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) grounded out to the second baseman to end the game. With the final out, Holy Cross fell by the final 7-3 score.
Marra gets hit with the loss, collecting his first decision to fall to 0-1 on the season. He pitched two innings, allowing four runs on five hits and struck out one. Hayward pitched 4.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits and struck out two. Columbia's reliever, junior Harrison Slutsky, allowed just one run on three hits in his 3.2 innings pitched and earned the win. He improves to 2-2 on the season. In all, the Crusaders scored three runs on seven hits. The Lions scored seven runs on 13 hits. Both teams left 10 runners stranded. Maldonado and Laurendeau each tallied two hits and one RBI to lead the squad offensively.
Holy Cross continues non-conference action, hosting Massachusetts next on Tuesday, March 29. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m. at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.