WORCESTER, Mass. – Army starting pitchers Nick Dignacco and Alex Robinett both pitched complete games for the visitors, as they helped lead the Black Knights to a doubleheader sweep over Holy Cross in Patriot League baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field. Dignacco helped Army earn the 5-1 victory in game one, while Robinett pitched a complete game nine-inning shutout in the Black Knights' 1-0 triumph in the second contest. With the wins, Army improves to 25-12 overall and 9-4 in the conference, while the Crusaders fall to 11-25 on the season and 3-9 in the league.
Game 1: Army 5, Holy Cross 1
Army struck first with a run in the top of the second inning to gain the 1-0 lead. The Black Knights added to their lead in the top of the fourth inning with four runs on five hits to give them the 5-0 advantage. The Crusaders looked to add a run in the bottom of the fourth, as senior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) led off the inning with a double. Dignacco, however, struck out the next three batters in order to preserve the shutout.
Holy Cross was able to put its only run of the game on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Crusader senior Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) drew a walk to lead off the frame and moved to second during the next at bat on a single by freshman Bill Schlich (Massapequa, N.Y.). Holy Cross freshman Josh Hassell (Tulsa, Okla.) plated Barry on a double to right field to make the score 5-1. The Crusaders were not able to add to their lead in the inning, as they ended the frame with the bases loaded. Holy Cross was held hitless over the final two innings, as Army would go on to claim the 5-1 victory.
Dignacco picked up the win (6-1) as he went seven innings and allowed one run on six hits and three walks, while fanning eight Crusaders. Holy Cross junior starting pitcher Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) was charged with the loss (2-5), as he surrendered five runs on nine hits with six punchouts in seven innings pitched.
Cipolla was the only Crusader with multiple hits, as he was 2-for-2 in game one. Army held the 9-6 advantage in total hits.
Game 2: Army 1, Holy Cross 0
In the second game, Army scored the contest's only run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Harold Earls ripped a double down the right-field line. He then advanced on a fielder's choice, by beating the throw at third from the pitcher. Earls scored during the next at bat, as he advanced on a stolen base by Mark McCants at second base to give Army the 1-0 lead.
Holy Cross had multiple chances to score throughout the contest, but was not able to push any runs across the plate. The Crusaders left five runners on base over the first three frames, before they forced Army to leave the bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning.
In the fifth and sixth inning, 12 consecutive batters by both teams recorded an out, before Army broke the stretch with a walk to lead off the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position during the next at bat on a wild pitch. Two batters later, however, Lovullo was caught stealing third base to end the rally.
In the bottom of the eighth, Holy Cross had two runners on with two outs, as Barry and sophomore Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.) each had a base knock. Robinett, however, recorded a strikeout to end the inning. The Crusaders had one final chance in the top of the ninth, as Schlich stood on second base after reaching on an error. Once again, Robinett struck out the final batter of the inning to secure the 1-0 shutout victory.
Robinett (4-3) totaled 132 pitches in the nine-inning affair, as he allowed eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Holy Cross senior starter Nate Walker (San Diego, Calif.) was charged with the loss (2-4), as he surrendered one earned run on five hits, while fanning six batters. Crusader freshman reliever George Capen (Gainesville, Va.) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief for Holy Cross.
Lovullo led the Crusaders in game two with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Barry batted 2-for-4 in the game, as Holy Cross held the 8-7 edge in the hitting department. Both teams stranded eight runners on base in the contest.
Holy Cross and Army will conclude their four-game series on Sunday, April 20, with a twin bill at Fitton Field beginning at 1:00 p.m.