POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Holy Cross sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) and junior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) each had three hits apiece as the Crusaders were defeated by Marist, 17-5, in non-conference baseball action on Wednesday afternoon at McCann Field. With the loss, Holy Cross falls to 11-15 on the season, while the Red Foxes improve to 14-9 overall.
Marist broke the scoreless game in the bottom of the second inning, as it struck for a trio of runs to take the 3-0 advantage. Holy Cross was able to get one run back in the top of the third inning, as Cipolla ripped an RBI-double down the left-field line to plate Ocello and cut the deficit to 3-1. The Red Foxes, however, answered with a pair in the bottom half of the third to go on top 5-1.
With no runs by either team in the fourth inning, Marist added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth frames. The Red Foxes pushed four runs across the plate in the fifth and added three more in the sixth inning as they would lead the Crusaders, 12-1.
Holy Cross did not go down without a fight, as it was able to chip in into the 11-run margin in the top of the seventh inning. With one out in the frame, Ocello and junior second baseman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) each had base knock to put runners on first and second. Ocello scored during the next at bat, as senior outfielder Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) reached on a fielding error by the second baseman. Cipolla then hit a single to left-center to score freshman pinch-runner Kevin Grudzinski (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) and cut the deficit to 12-3. Holy Cross senior catcher/first baseman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) then hit a two-RBI double into left field to plate Cipolla and Puentes and make the score 12-5 in favor of Marist.
The Red Foxes responded to the Crusaders rally with a surge of their own, as they rattled off five runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning to push the lead to its final score of 17-5. Holy Cross was held hitless over the final two frames as Marist would claim the victory.
Marist starting pitcher Chris Napolitano was credited with the victory (2-1) as he tossed five innings and allowed one earned run on seven hits, while he fanned six batters. Holy Cross freshman pitcher Colin Brown (Sonoma, Calif.) was tagged with the loss (0-1), as he pitched three innings and surrendered five earned runs and five hits. He walked two batters and had one strikeout. The Holy Cross bullpen did not fare well as it allowed 12 runs (nine earned) and 12 hits over five combined innings pitched. Crusaders freshman pitcher Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.), however, pitched a perfect eighth inning for Holy Cross with one strikeout in his first collegiate appearance.
The Red Foxes held the 17-12 advantage in hits during the game as Holy Cross committed four errors to Marist's two. In addition to Ocello and Cipolla, Wadsworth and Barry each had multi-hit games for the Crusaders. Ocello went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, while Cipolla went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBIs.
Holy Cross returns to action this weekend, as it will travel to Easton, Pa. to take on Lafayette in a pair of Patriot League doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7. Both twin bills will begin at 12:00 p.m.