WORCESTER, Mass. – A combination of hot hitting and strong pitching from the bullpen led the Holy Cross baseball team to two wins, 6-5 and 13-7 against Bucknell, in the weekend finale at Fitton Field. With the day's results, the Crusaders collect a record of 15-16-1 (3-5 PL) while the Bison move to 13-20 (2-6 PL) on the season. Sophomore relievers John Colella (Herndon, Va.) and Josh Hauser (Dallas, Texas) posted 0.00 ERAs and two wins in their appearances to lead the team to crucial league victories while sophomore Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) continued to produce offensively, leading the team with five hits, four runs and six RBI.
Holy Cross jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Wadsworth continued his hot streak at the plate, knocking out a two-run home run after senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) scored fellow senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) on a sacrifice fly. Senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) also singled in the inning to put McCrea into scoring position. Bucknell put two runs on the board in the top of the second to make it a 3-2 game, collecting three hits off junior starter Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) who struck out the last two batters to get out of the inning. The Crusaders came back with two more runs in the bottom of the second to regain a 5-2 lead as senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) and freshman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) tallied RBI singles in the team's four-hit inning.
Bucknell would come back to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the fifth, chasing Koneski from the mound after drawing a RBI walk and scoring on a hit batsmen as well. Colella struck out one and got the last batter to fly out to end the inning. The Crusaders capitalized on an early Bucknell error in the bottom of the fifth, regaining a 6-5 edge after Oxford scored Laurendeau, who reached because of the error, on a single through the left side. Colella finished strong on the mound in the sixth and seventh inning, letting up just two hits and striking out two batters to give Holy Cross the final 6-5 victory.
Colella earns his second win of the season after pitching the last 2.2 innings, giving up no runs on two hits while striking out three batters. Bucknell's starter, Trey Frahler, drops to 1-6 on the year after pitching the complete six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and struck out five. In all, Holy Cross scored six runs on nine hits making one error while the Bison scored five runs on eight hits, making two errors. Ahmed, Oxford and Laurendeau combined for six of the team's nine hits notching two apiece.
The Crusaders batted through the lineup in the top of the first inning, scoring five runs on six hits, including a two-run double from Ahmed, off Bucknell starter Jack Boehm. Holy Cross added one more hit to chase Boehm from the mound in the bottom of the second but did not put another run across. Bison senior Doug Shribman made it a one-run game, 5-4, with one swing of the bat in the top of the third, knocking out a grand slam to deep centerfield. Sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) answered the grand slam with a two-run double in the bottom half of the third, scoring Wadsworth and Olson who started the inning off with back-to-back singles and putting Holy Cross back up by three runs, 7-4.
Wadsworth made it an 8-4 game on a sacrifice fly while Hauser shut down the Bison offense in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out three batters in his two inning effort. Wadsworth then picked up his third hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth, sending Laurendeau home on a single to bring the score to 9-4. Shribman went yard again in top of the seventh, sending out a two-run home run to get Bucknell within three runs, 9-6. The Crusaders broke out for four insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with Wadsworth, Olson, Maldonado and Ahmed tallying the RBI on three singles and a sacrifice fly.
Bucknell tagged sophomore reliever Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) with one final run in the top of the ninth, but no more as Kono pitched his way to his first career save, preserving Holy Cross' final 13-7 victory.
Hauser gets credited with the win, tallying his first decision of the season to move to 1-0. Kono finished out with four total innings pitched, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out four in the save situation. In all, Holy Cross scored 13 runs on 17 hits and made one error while the Bison scored seven runs on six hits, committing three errors. Wadsworth and Maldonado combined for eight of the team's 13 RBI, joining for seven hits in nine at-bats.
The Crusaders travel to play Central Connecticut State next. The game will be held on Tuesday, April 12 at the Central Connecticut State Baseball Field in New Britain, Conn. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.