WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) hit a homerun and tallied two RBI's, including the game-winner, to help lead the Crusaders to a series split versus Bucknell in Patriot League baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field. Bucknell won the first game, 6-3, and the Crusaders took the second game, 5-4.
With the win and loss, Holy Cross advances to 8-14 overall (1-1 PL) on the season, while the Bison's record is now 6-18 overall (1-1 PL).
Bucknell took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Puentes led off the second inning with a game-tying solo home run to left center, his third of the season. The Bison answered with three runs in the top of the third to bring them ahead 4-1.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, freshman Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was hit by a pitch. He moved to third on a single by classmate Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.) to put runners on the corners. During the next at bat, Lovullo crossed the plate on a passed ball to make the score 4-2. Senior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) singled during the at bat, but Perry was thrown out at home to end the Crusaders rally.
Bucknell added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings to make the score 6-2, including a home run in the sixth inning by Rob Krentzman. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, junior Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) doubled to keep the Crusaders hopes alive. Junior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) drove Ahmed in for the final run of the game as the Bison would go on to win, 6-3.
Holy Cross junior starting pitcher Nate Walker (San Diego, Calif.) allowed six runs (five earned) and was charged with the loss falling to 1-1 this season. Sophomore Jeremy Perron (Bradenton, Fla.) relieved Walker for the final 1.1 innings of the game and did not allow a run.
Bucknell pitcher Bryson Hough allowed two runs in six innings to pick up the win, advancing his record to 2-3. Xavier Hammond came in for the last out of the game earning his first save of the season.
Lovullo went 1-1 during the game with an RBI and a run. Both Ahmed and senior Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) tallied doubles, and Puentes hit a home run. Both teams had eight hits apiece in game one.
Bucknell again grabbed the early lead, as this time it went on top 4-0 lead after four innings. The Crusaders came back in the sixth inning with three runs. The Bison's Dan Wiegel walked Maldonado, and then sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) singled to advance Maldonado to second. Cipolla ripped a base-knock to score Maldonado, and advance Ocello to second. Enos then doubled to center to plate Ocello to make the score 4-2. Senior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) reached on an error by the shortstop as Cipolla came across the plate to cut the deficit to 4-3.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Cipolla smacked a double to right field. Enos then followed with another two-bagger to right, which scored Cipolla and knotted the score at 4-4. Sophomore Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.) came in to pinch run and replaced Enos at second base. Wadsworth was walked, putting runners on first and second. Puentes singled up the middle to score St. Clair and give the Crusaders their first lead of the series, 5-4. Holy Cross senior John Colella (Herndon, Va.) pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the ninth to secure the victory for the Crusaders.
Colella picked up his first win of the season (1-3) as he pitched three scoreless frames out of the bullpen and only allowed two hits, while he fanned three batters. Holy Cross senior pitcher Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) went six innings for the Crusaders as he allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. He walked two batters and had five strikeouts. Weigel went 7.2 innings for the Bison (1-5), as he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits.
Ocello, Cipolla and Enos each had two hits in the second game as the Crusaders held the slim, 8-7 margin in hits.
Holy Cross returns to action on Sunday, March 31, as it will host Bucknell in a second Patriot League doubleheader at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Fitton Field.
Postgame interview with Patrick Puentes