BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Junior Josh Olson (Woodbury, Minn.) drove in a team-best four RBI and tallied three hits as the Holy Cross baseball team split the day's action with Patriot League opponent Lehigh at Goodman Campus. The Crusaders lost game one, 4-1, and then took game two, 11-7. With the decisions, the squad moves to 24-17 (9-5 PL) while the Mountain Hawks go to 16-27-1 (4-10 PL). Freshman Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) pitched over seven strong innings in relief in game two to help boost the Crusaders to the win.
Sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) tallied his third triple of the season in the first at-bat of game one and then scored on a single up the middle by junior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) to give the Crusaders a 1-0 edge. Junior starter Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) held the Mountain Hawks scoreless until the bottom of the third as Lehigh knotted things up at 1-1 on a RBI double. A double from Ahmed and fellow sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) was the only offense Holy Cross could provide through the fifth innings as the game remained in a tie.
Lehigh made the most of three hits, including two RBI singles, in the bottom of the fifth, putting up three runs to take a 4-1 lead. The Crusaders scattered two final hits in the game, one in the sixth and one in the seventh, but could not come up with any more runs. Marra finished out the game on the mound and tallied one more strikeout as the Holy Cross dropped game one, 4-1.
Marra pitched the full six innings for his fourth complete game of the season and picked up the loss, dropping to 4-3 overall. He allowed three earned runs on four hits and struck out four batters. Lehigh's starter, Cory Kent, pitched seven full innings and earned the win, improving to 3-3. He allowed one run on eight hits and struck out six. In all, Holy Cross scored one run on eight hits and committed one error while the Mountain Hawks scored four runs on four hits.
Ahmed started with an extra-base hit again in game two, this time doubling in the first at-bat before being sent home on a RBI single by junior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to put the Crusaders ahead again, 1-0. Lehigh answered with three runs on three hits, including a two-run double off of senior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) to take a 3-1 lead. Each team added two runs to its total in the second inning as Olson notched his first RBI hit of the day in the top half, scoring senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.). Senior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) followed with a RBI single, allowing Olson to cross home plate. The Mountain Hawks chased Croglio from the start in the bottom half of the inning, capitalizing on three hits to make it 5-3 game.
Olson then broke out for a bases-clearing, three-run double in the bottom of the third, scoring Sintetos, Wadsworth and Ahmed on the play as Holy Cross pulled ahead 8-3. Murray, who replaced Croglio in the second, pitched a hitless bottom half of the third and scoreless fourth and fifth innings before Holy Cross combined for five more runs of support in the top half of the sixth. Highlighting the Crusaders' five-run inning was a two-run triple by Wadsworth and RBI singles from Maldonado and Sintetos. Holy Cross collected five hits in the inning and jumped ahead, 11-5.
Murray did not allow one hit for three straight innings, helping Holy Cross keep its six-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. The Mountain Hawks would score two runs in the final inning, all with two outs before Murray was relieved by junior John Colella (Herndon, Va.). Colella walked the first batter he saw to load the bases and then pitched then got the final batter to ground out, ending the Lehigh come back as Holy Cross finished ahead, 11-7.
Murray earned the winning decision, improving to an unblemished 3-0 on the season. He threw 7.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out a season-high five batters. Colella notched his eighth save of the season in his relief appearance, facing just two batters. Lehigh's first reliever, Brandon Sady, picked up the loss and drops to 1-2 overall. He pitched one full inning, allowing no earned runs on two hits. In all, Holy Cross scored 11 runs on 14 hits, committing one error while the Mountain Hawks scored seven runs on 12 hits, committing four errors.
The Crusaders continue Patriot League action tomorrow, April 21, wrapping up the series at Lehigh. Game one of the doubleheader will start at noon at Goodman Campus in Bethlehem, Pa.