BLACKSBURG, Va. – Holy Cross sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) had three hits on the day with a pair of runs and RBIs as the Crusaders lost a doubleheader to No. 24 Virginia Tech, 7-5, and Delaware, 9-8 at English Field on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders fall to 0-2 on the season, while the Hokies improve to 5-1 and the Blue Hens improve to 3-1.
Game 1 vs. #24 Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech started strong as it took the 3-0 lead after the first inning, but the Crusaders were able to knot the score in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, Holy Cross scored its first run on a single by Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) to score junior Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.). Ocello and senior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also crossed home during the inning to make the score 3-3.
The Hokies answered with one run in the bottom of the third, but the Crusaders kept the game tied in the fourth on an RBI-single by Maldonado. Holy Cross took the 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning on the first home run of the season by junior Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.), but that was short lived as Virginia Tech scored a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame to make the score 7-5. Holy Cross would only get two hits over the final three innings as the Hokies would claim the victory.
Holy Cross senior Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) was charged with the loss as he pitched 4.2 innings and surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits. The Crusaders bullpen of seniors Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.), Conor Moynihan (Worcester, Mass.) and Josh Hauser (Dallas, Texas) combined to toss 3.2 scoreless innings with one hit and four strikeouts. Brendon Hayden picked up the win for the Hokies as he pitched three innings with one hit and no earned runs.
Game 2 vs. Delaware
In game two of the doubleheader, Delaware jumped ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning and increased its lead to 7-0 after six innings of play. The Crusaders only had four base runners on three hits during the first six innings of the game. After a scoreless seventh inning by both teams, Holy Cross was able to break out of its offensive slump in the eighth inning.
After a pair of hits by sophomore Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.) and junior Ted Cullinane (East Greenwich, R.I.), freshman Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs in the inning, Ocello ripped a two-RBI single into centerfield that was mishandled by the fielder, which emptied the bases and made the score 7-3. After a walk by Maldonado, freshman Bobby Indeglia (North Kingstown, R.I.) hit a triple to score both Maldonado and Ocello and cut the deficit to 7-5.
The Blue Hens were able to score a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning (9-5), but the Crusaders made a strong push in the ninth inning. St. Clair led off the frame with a single and scored during the next at-bat on a double by senior Josh Olson (Woodbury, Minn.), which made the score 9-6. Two batters later, Lovullo hit an RBI-double to plate Olson. Holy Cross loaded the bases up on a single and hit by pitch as Lovullo crossed home on a Maldonado sacrifice fly, which made the score 9-8. However, Delaware made a pitching change and was able to get the final out and win the contest.
Holy Cross sophomore starter Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) was credited with the loss as he went 5.1 innings and allowed six earned runs on 11 hits. Delaware starting pitcher Chad Kuhl tossed 7.2 innings as he picked up the win. Kuhl surrendered four runs and struck out five batters.
The Crusaders will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 24, when they will take on Temple in a doubleheader at Blacksburg, Va., beginning at 11:00 a.m.