Baseball Readies to Host Patriot League Semifinal Vs. Army
The No. 2-seeded Holy Cross baseball team will host No. 3 Army West Point in a best-of-three Patriot League Championship semifinal series between the two most recent Patriot League champions. First pitch of a doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 at Fitton Field; if needed, Game 3 will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 12.
How They Got Here:
- Seeding for the Patriot League Tournament came down to the wire; in the final weekend of Patriot League action, Army went 3-1 while the Crusaders went 2-2 for the two teams to finish with identical 15-10 records in league play.
- Because the Crusaders went 3-2 against the Black Knights during the regular season, Holy Cross owned the tiebreaker and earned the higher seed and home field advantage for the semifinal round.
Things to Know About the Crusaders (21-30, 15-10 Patriot League):
- After a 1-17 start to the season, the Crusaders went 20-13 over the remainder of the regular season; this is the 10th time in the past 12 years Holy Cross has won at least 20 games in a season.
- Holy Cross has made the Patriot League Tournament in five consecutive years and in seven of the past eight seasons.
- To close out the regular season, Holy Cross split doubleheaders against Lafayette on Saturday, May 4 and Lehigh on Monday, May 6 to finish with a 15-10 record in Patriot League action.
- Senior right-hander Pat McGowan was named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, May 7 after his best start of the year at Lehigh on Monday, in which he recorded a career-high nine strikeouts during six shutout innings during a 4-0 win for the Crusaders.
- Four Crusaders were named to the All-Patriot League team on Wednesday, May 8, including three first-time honorees on the first team: sophomore designated hitter Evan Blum, senior right-handed pitcher Declan Cronin and sophomore right-handed pitcher Liam Dvorak. Junior center fielder Austin Masel was named to the All-Patriot League second team, becoming just the 43rd baseball player in league history to receive All-League honors three times.
- Additionally, Cronin, Dvorak and Masel each earned Academic All-Patriot League honors on Thursday, May 9.
- Offensively, the Crusaders hit .271 in conference play, the third-best average in the Patriot League; Holy Cross had a 3.74 team ERA in league action, which ranked second in the conference.
Things to Know About the Black Knights (30-22, 15-10 Patriot League):
- Army comes off a midweek 23-11 victory over Villanova on Wednesday, its highest run total since 2008.
- The Black Knights’ lineup features three everyday players hitting above .300: center fielder Jacob Hurtubise (.353), third baseman Anthony Giachin (.335) and shortstop Trey Martin (.312).
- Army owned a 3.50 team ERA in league play, which ranked atop the Patriot League. As a team, the Black Knights hit .264 in conference play.
- The Black Knights had the most All-Patriot League selections in 2019, with seven, including four on the first team; Hurtubise was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year.
- April 17 | Army 8, Holy Cross 5 | Army took a 3-0 lead in the first inning after a three-run homer from Martin, but the Crusaders capitalized on miscues by Army to go ahead 4-3 in the third inning. Army answered with a three-run fourth and eventually built their lead to 8-4; Masel brought Holy Cross back within 8-5 after a solo home run, but the Crusaders could cut no closer. (box score)
- April 27 | Holy Cross 4, Army 2 | A well-rounded effort by four different Holy Cross pitchers held the Black Knights to just two runs on five total hits. Though Army led 2-0 initially, junior third baseman Alex Volpi delivered the go-ahead two-RBI double in the fifth inning. Freshman lefty Frank Spano allowed just one hit over two innings in his start; sophomore lefty Luke Dawson earned the win and freshman right-hander C.J. McKennitt had three strikeouts in a two-inning save. (box score)
- April 27 | Holy Cross 4, Army 3 | Cronin tallied seven strikeouts and allowed just one earned run over eight innings pitched. Though the Crusaders held a 3-2 lead late, Army knotted the game up in the top of the ninth, drawing up a walkoff opportunity for the Crusaders. Masel delivered in the bottom of the ninth, notching a deep base hit that scored pinch runner Kyle Johnson from second. (box score)
- April 28 | Army 3, Holy Cross 0 | In an early-morning outing – with an 8:30 a.m. first pitch due to anticipated rain in the afternoon – hits were hard to come by for the Crusaders, who couldn’t plate any runs despite drawing four walks and three hit batters. Army’s offense came by way of a first-inning two run homer from Martin and a bunt single RBI in the sixth inning from first baseman John McKenna. (box score)
- April 28 | Holy Cross 4, Army 3 | McGowan had a stellar Senior Day start, holding Army scoreless with just three hits allowed through his first seven innings. Though Army scored three runs in the top of the eighth; the Crusaders’ four runs would prove enough for the win. Senior second baseman Alex Gionis drove in two of the Crusaders’ four runs on a 2-for-3 day. (box score)
- In 2018, the fourth-seeded Crusaders faced regular-season champion Navy, winning the opening contest 4-2 behind five stellar innings pitched by Cronin; Navy won the final two games of the series to advance to the finals.
- Holy Cross has advanced to the Patriot League final five times since 2010, winning a conference championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
- The Crusaders and Black Knights last met in the Patriot League postseason in the 2017 semifinals; Holy Cross took two games from Army in an 8-2 and 5-4 win.