AMHERST, Mass. – Freshman starter Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) pitched just over four innings, collecting his first victory in a Holy Cross uniform as the Holy Cross baseball team defeated in-state opponent UMass, 4-3, at Earl Lorden Field. With the decision, the squad moves to 11-9 on the season while the Minutemen go to 4-8. Junior John Colella (Herndon, Va.) highlighted the squad's final pitching efforts, tying the Holy Cross career saves record with his fourth save on the season.
Junior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) combined for a single, stolen base and run scored as Holy Cross took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Fellow junior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) tallied the first RBI single to drive in Maldonado and then scored on a single to center by senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.). UMass answered right back, scoring twice to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning, stringing three hits together and capitalizing on two Crusader fielding errors. Freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) propelled the Crusaders back out to a 4-2 lead in the top of the second, scoring senior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) and sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) on a bases clearing single.
The Minutemen got one run back in the bottom of the second to make it 4-3 as Murray, earning his first collegiate start, settled in to shut down UMass in the third and fourth innings. Murray was relieved in the bottom of the fifth by junior Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.) with two on and two outs. Boyce got the third batter out on the second pitch thrown, getting out of the jam.
Tkowski scattered the squad's lone hit after the second inning as Boyce worked a scoreless bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, registering his first strikeout in the seventh, to keep the score at 4-3. Holy Cross loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth innings but two double plays ended the scoring attempts each time. Colella came in for Boyce in the bottom of the eighth and struck out two of the three batters he faced to continue the scoreless work of Holy Cross pitching. After the Crusaders went down in order in the top of the ninth, Colella allowed one runner to reach but came back to get the final two batters out, including a big strikeout as Holy Cross finished ahead by the final 4-3 score.
Murray earned the win, going to 1-0 overall after pitching 4.2 innings. He allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out two. Colella pitched two full innings, allowing one hit and striking out three in his fourth save. UMass' starter, Andrew Grant tallied the loss, dropping to 0-1 on the season. He allowed four runs on six hits in two innings pitched. In all, Holy Cross scored four runs on seven hits, committing three errors while the Minutemen scored three runs on eight hits, committing two errors.
Holy Cross hosts Harvard tomorrow, March 28. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m. at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.