WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) went 5-for-6 with six runs, two triples and a pair of RBIs, as he helped the Crusaders sweep Bucknell in Patriot League baseball action on Sunday afternoon at Fitton Field. Holy Cross won the first game, 5-4, and claimed the second contest, 9-3.
With the wins, Holy Cross improves to 10-14 overall (3-1 PL), while the Bison slip to 6-20 on the season (1-3 PL). Crusaders junior Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) tallied a win on the mound in the second game, as he also went 2-for-5 on the day batting. He recorded two runs, one RBI and stole three bases during the doubleheader.
The Crusaders started the contest on top, 1-0, after the first inning. Sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) led off the frame with a single to left field and advanced to third on a fielding error by Bucknell. On the next at-bat, junior Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) grounded out to the first baseman to score Ocello, unearned.
In the top of the fourth, 10 Bucknell batters came to the plate, as the Bison were able to take the lead, 4-1. In the bottom of the frame the Crusaders came out strong. Ahmed singled to the shortstop, and then stole second. Cipolla then tripled to right field scoring Ahmed, as senior Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) hit a sacrifice fly to plate Cipolla and bring the score to 4-3, where the inning ended.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Cipolla singled to left field. On the next at-bat, Enos was hit by a pitch, which pushed Cipolla to second base. Freshman Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) then doubled to left center to bring in Cipolla and Enos and give the Crusaders the late 5-4 edge. The two-RBI double would be enough, as Holy Cross completed the comeback.
Senior John Colella (Herndon, Va.) earned his first save of the season as he pitched the final inning and allowed one walk and had one strikeout. Sophomore Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) was credited with the win (2-2) as he tossed six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits, while he fanned a season-high 10 batters. Bison starting pitcher Mike Goldstein was charged with the loss (2-4) as he went six innings and surrendered five runs (four earned) on five hits and had seven strikeouts.
Cipolla was the only Holy Cross batter with multiple hits as he went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Bucknell outhit the Crusaders 7-5 during the contest.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Bucknell scored early with a run in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the second, Holy Cross senior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) led off with a double to right center. Cipolla then drove him in on his second triple of the day, down the right field line. He later crossed home on an Enos RBI-single during the next at bat to put the Crusaders on top 2-1.
The Crusaders tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third on another Enos base hit, as Barry and Ahmed both crossed home on the single. Cipolla recorded his second run of the game on an error by Bucknell to put Holy Cross ahead 5-1 after three innings of play.
In the bottom of the fourth, Barry and Ahmed each hit a sacrifice fly to plate Lovullo and Maldonado, respectively. Cipolla scored his third run of the contest on a sacrifice bunt by Lovullo in the fifth inning, which put Holy Cross ahead 8-1.
In the top of the seventh inning, Bucknell answered with a pair to bring the score to 8-3, but Holy Cross added an insurance run in the bottom half of the frame as Cipolla crossed home once again, this time on a groundout by senior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.). Wadsworth's RBI was the last run of the game as the Crusaders would go on to win, 9-3.
Ahmed picked up his second win of the year (2-2) as he pitched six strong innings and only allowed one run on six hits, while striking out five. Senior Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.) picked up his third save of the year as he pitched the final three innings of the contest and surrendered two runs on four hits. Bucknell pitcher Andrew Andreychik was charged with the loss (1-2) as he allowed seven runs in three innings pitched. The Crusaders rattled off eight hits against Andreychik.
Cipolla went 3-for-3 with four runs and an RBI in the nightcap, as Enos batted 3-for-4 with a trio of RBIs. Barry hit 2-for-4 during the second game with a run and an RBI. The Crusaders held the 11-10 edge in the hitting department during game two.
Enos and Ahmed have each extended their hitting streaks to 10 games apiece after this weekend's games.
Holy Cross returns to action on Tuesday, April 2, as it will travel to Hartford for a 3:00 p.m. start.
Postgame interview with Brandon Cipolla