WEST POINT, N.Y. – Holy Cross sophomore pitcher Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) tossed a complete game one-hitter in the first contest of the day as the Crusaders took both games versus Army in Patriot League baseball action on Sunday afternoon at Doubleday Field. Holy Cross won the first game, 2-0, and the second contest, 11-9.
With the victories, Holy Cross improves to 25-22 overall and claims the 2013 Patriot League regular season title for the first time since the league began in 1991 with a 15-5 record in the conference. Army falls to 21-21 on the season and 11-9 in the league.
Holy Cross will now entertain Bucknell in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament during the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12. The Crusaders are the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will host all of their games at Fitton Field.
After four scoreless innings by both teams in the opener, Holy Cross was able to break the tie in the top of the fifth. Holy Cross senior outfielder Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) reached first base on an error and stole second during the next at bat. Puentes then moved over to third on a ground out. After senior catcher Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) was issued a free pass, Holy Cross executed the double steal with runners on the corners and Puentes swiped home to give the Crusaders the 1-0 edge.
Murray did not allow any hits over the first four innings, but Army broke up the no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth with a single by Patrick Mescher to lead off the inning. Holy Cross added an insurance run in the top of the sixth, as junior Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) hit an RBI-single to score sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) and push the lead to 2-0.
Murray closed the door allowing only one walk over the final two frames to clinch the regular season title for the Crusaders with the victory. He improved his record to 5-3 on the season, as he allowed two walks and one hit, while fanning five batters. Army pitcher Alex Robinett was charged with the loss (6-3), as he surrendered two runs (one earned) and three hits over 7.0 innings pitched.
In the second game of the twinbill, Holy Cross once again grabbed the first lead of the game, this time in the top of the first. Crusaders freshman Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.) hit an RBI-single to plate Ocello and put Holy Cross on top 1-0. The Crusaders added two more runs in the top of the second inning with RBI-base hits by freshman infielder Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Ocello to give Holy Cross the 3-0 advantage.
The Crusaders scored one run in the top of the fourth inning to go ahead 4-0, before they erupted for seven scores in the fifth inning. Junior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) got things going with an RBI-single to plate Barry, before freshman outfielder Bobby Indeglia (North Kingstown, R.I.) plated both Cipolla and Perry to give Holy Cross the 7-0 lead. Sophomore utility player Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.), Indeglia, Lovullo and senior shortstop Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) all crossed home during the frame as the Crusaders would take a commanding 11-0 advantage.
Army did not go down without a fight as it slowly chipped away at the deficit, starting with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to trail 11-2. In the bottom of the seventh, the Black Knights tallied six runs to make the score 11-8. Army scored once more in the eighth inning to cut the margin to 11-9, before it made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. The Black Knights put the first two batters on base to begin the ninth, but Holy Cross senior pitcher John Colella (Herndon, Va.) ended any chance for a comeback as he struck out the final three batters in order for the 11-9 victory.
Colella earned his team-best sixth save of the season with 1.1 frames pitched out of the bullpen. He has not allowed a run in his last five appearances with 11 strikeouts over 8.1 innings of work. Holy Cross senior pitcher Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) picked up the win (4-1), tossing 6.1 innings and allowing seven runs (two earned) and six hits, while fanning four batters. Black Knights pitcher Julian Larimer was charged with the loss (1-2) as he surrendered six runs (four earned) and four hits over 4.1 innings pitched.
The Crusaders outhit Army 11-9 in game two with Barry, Cipolla and Lovullo each with multiple hits. Lovullo went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs in the contest.
Holy Cross will return to action on Wednesday, May 1, with a non-conference road game versus Connecticut at 3:00 p.m.