WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior southpaw Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) threw a one-hit shutout in the first game of action as the Holy Cross baseball team split the final series with Lafayette at Fitton Field. Holy Cross won the first game, 8-0, and then dropped game two in 12 innings by a 12-6 final tally. With the decisions, the squad moves to 18-13 (5-3 Patriot League) while the Leopards go to 10-21-1 (4-4 PL). Junior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) led the squad offensively on the day, going 5-for-8 with four runs scored.
Holy Cross took an early 3-0 edge in the bottom of the first inning, scoring the three runs on a single by senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.), a bases loaded walk by sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) and a bases loaded hit by pitch by sophomore Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.). Lafayette got the lone hit in the game in the top of the second before Koneski followed up with a strikeout and ground out to end the scoring attempt. The Crusaders went ahead by seven runs, 7-0, in the bottom half of the second as Cipolla collected a two-run single, scoring junior Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) and Puentes. Barry added a RBI double that scored Sintetos as the Crusaders tallied four runs on two hits in the inning.
Koneski added four strikeouts to his total in the third, fourth and fifth innings before the Crusaders tallied the game's final run in the bottom of the fifth. After loading the bases, Puentes reached on a fielder's choice that allowed freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) to score the run. The squad collected the run on one hit in the inning as sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) put runners in scoring position on a single up the middle. Koneski struck out two batters in the sixth before being relieved by freshman Jeremy Perron (Bradenton, Fla.) in the top half of the seventh inning. Perron added one strikeout and faced just three batters in the inning as Holy Cross held on for the 8-0 victory.
Koneski pitched six innings of shutout work for his third win of the season, improving to 3-2 overall. He allowed just one hit overall and struck out a season-best 10 batters. Lafayette's starter, Derek Gussaroff, gets tagged with the loss, dropping to 4-3 overall. He allowed three earned runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work. In all, Holy Cross scored eight runs on eight hits while the Leopards tallied one hit in the seven innings and made two errors.
Lafayette tagged junior starter Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) for three runs on three hits in the top of the first to take a quick 3-0 lead. The Crusaders got one run back in the bottom half of the first with Puentes scoring on a throwing error by the Leopards first baseman. After Lafayette went ahead 4-1 in the top of the second, Holy Cross rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third, tying the score at 4-4. Maldonado tripled in his second at-bat to score Ahmed for the first run and was followed by a RBI single by Puentes. Sintetos finished the scoring affair with a single to center, sending home Puentes for the run. Cipolla gave the Crusaders a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, doubling and then scoring on a wild pitch.
The Leopards scored once in the top of seventh and again in the top of the eighth to go up 6-5. The Crusaders went scoreless from the bottom of the fifth until the bottom of the ninth when Enos capitalized on a single through the right side, scoring Ahmed who also singled in the inning to send the game into extra innings with a 6-6 tie score. Both teams battled for a scoreless 10th and 11th innings. It was in the 12th inning that Lafayette broke the game open, 12-6, scoring six runs on two bases clearing doubles. Holy Cross added two hits in the bottom half of the inning but could not score as they fell by the final 12-6 tally.
Ahmed picked up the losing decision, going to 1-1 on the season as he entered the game in the top of the 10th. He threw 2.1 innings, allowing the two go-ahead runs to score in the 12th. He also walked three batters and struck out three. Lafayette's fourth pitcher used, Sean McGrath, tallied the win, going to 1-0 overall on the season. He pitched four full innings, allowing one run on four hits and struck out two. In all, Holy Cross scored six runs on 15 hits, committing three errors while the Leopards scored 12 runs on 16 hits, committing two errors.
The Crusaders host Central Connecticut on Tuesday, April10 to wrap up the seven game home stand. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.