Baseball Splits Doubleheader With St. Louis & Michigan

Donny Murray

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Holy Cross sophomore outfielder Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) batted 3-for-7 on the day with four runs, four RBIs and a home run as the Crusaders went 1-1 on the afternoon versus St. Louis and Michigan in non-conference baseball action at Fowler Park. Holy Cross defeated St. Louis, 11-5 in the first contest and was defeated by Michigan in the second game, 7-4. The Crusaders have concluded their west coast trip and return to Worcester with a 2-11 overall record.  

Game 1 vs. St. Louis

In the opener versus the Billikens, Holy Cross started quickly as it was able to score three runs in the top of the first inning. With one out and runners on first and second, senior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) hit a single through the right side to score Ocello and give the Crusaders the 1-0 lead. During the next at-bat, fourth-year Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) ripped a double to left field to plate both Puentes and junior Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and give the Crusaders the early 3-0 edge.

After St. Louis scored one run in both the second and third innings to make the score 3-2, Holy Cross would go on a scoring tear over the next five frames. In the fourth inning, Holy Cross freshman Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and senior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each crossed home to make the score 5-2. In the fifth, Enos reached first on a two-out single and stole second base. During the next at-bat, senior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) ripped a base-hit through the left side to score Enos and give Holy Cross the 6-2 advantage.

The Crusaders scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning and seventh innings, which pushed them ahead 10-2. Ocello scored one run in the sixth inning and drove home both in the seventh on an RBI-single. In the eighth inning, Puentes hit his first home run of the season over the right field fence to make the score 11-2.

The Billikens did not go down without a fight as they scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and spoiled the complete game opportunity for Holy Cross starter Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.), but the Crusaders would go on to win, 11-5.

Murray (1-1) pitched 8.1 innings for the Crusaders as he allowed five runs (four earned) and 10 hits. He fanned three and did not walk any batters in the 110-pitch effort. St. Louis starter Brett Vanover (1-1) was chased after 3.1 innings on the bump, as he surrendered five runs (three earned) on four hits. Both teams had 12 hits apiece as the Crusaders left 10 runners on base, compared to seven for the Billikens.

Puentes went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs and RBIs, while Enos went 2-for-4 with two runs and RBIs as well. Wadsworth, Maldonado and Barry also had a pair of hits each for the Crusaders.

Game 2 vs. Michigan

In the second game of the afternoon, Holy Cross faced off with Michigan, a team it had lost to 6-3 on Thursday, March 6. The Wolverines broke the tie early in the first inning as they struck for a pair of runs to make the score 2-0. Michigan added to its lead during the third and fourth frames with one run during each inning to increase its margin to 4-0.

The Crusaders finally ended their scoring drought in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs in the frame, Maldonado tripled down the right field line. Ocello then hit his first career home run down the left field line to make the score 4-2. Holy Cross added another run in the sixth inning as freshman outfielder Bobby Indeglia (North Kingstown, R.I.) plated junior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) on a ground-out to the shortstop, which cut the deficit to 4-3.

The Wolverines added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning (6-3), but the Crusaders answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI-single by Barry to score Ocello and make the score 6-4. Michigan put up one more run in the top of the eighth inning (7-4), as the Crusaders looked as if they would do some damage in the bottom of the frame. Holy Cross led off the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back singles, but could not muster anything else as it was retired in order. The Crusaders did not add to their lead in the ninth inning as the Wolverines won the contest, 7-4.

Ahmed started the contest for Holy Cross as he was charged with the loss (1-1). He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed four earned runs and eight hits. He issued one free pass, but struck out a career-best seven batters. Michigan starter Trent Szkutnik picked up the win (2-2) as he went five innings and surrendered three runs on four hits to go along with four strikeouts. Wolverine Jacob Cronenworth picked up his first save of the season with a three-inning performance of zero earned runs, three hits and four punch-outs.  

Ocello had the only multi-hit game for Holy Cross as he was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Michigan outhit the Crusaders 13-8 in the contest.

Holy Cross will return to action on Saturday, March 16, as it will travel to St. John's for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Crusaders will conclude their weekend with a single game versus the Red Storm on Sunday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m. as well.