(Frankfort, Ky.) The Holy Cross Saints baseball program opened up their week long spring break trip in Kentucky in style on Friday afternoon after knocking off NCAA Division II program Kentucky State University in dominating fashion. Mike Tarala (Schererville, Ind.) had a career day for the Saints driving in five runs while freshman pitcher Jordan Gard (Mishawaka, Ind.) picked up his second consecutive win to help the Saints cruise past the Thorobreds 15-6. The win is the second straight for Holy Cross and brings their overall record to 3-3.
"I was very pleased with our offensive approach today," stated head coach Brian Blondell. "I thought Mike (Tarala) did an excellent job of being patient and productive at the plate. His big day really helped us pick up this win."
The Saints were quick to strike in the first inning after nearly batting through the lineup and producing three runs off of a bases clearing double by Mike Tarala.
Jordan Gard was quick to work on the mound in the bottom half of the first inning after shutting down the Thorobreds in order.
The biggest inning for the Saints came in the top half of the second inning where their offensive groove seemed to pick up. In the inning, the Saints scored five runs on three hits and benefited from two errors by Kentucky State to make it an 8-0 after just two innings of action.
After adding one run in the fourth, the Saints put together another big inning in the top of the fifth where they registered five hits and scored four runs to make it a 13-0 ballgame. Jordan Gard ended his day after five innings of solid pitching where he allowed only two hits, struck out five and didn't allow a run.
The Saints scored their 15th run of the game in the top of the sixth inning and held the Thorobreds scoreless until late in the game where they registered their first run in the bottom of the eighth inning and proceeded to rally off five runs on four hits to make it a 15-5 game in the bottom of the ninth; fortunately for the Saints, the rally by Kentucky State would still fall well short and they would cruise to their second consecutive win, and third of the season.
"There were a lot of things to be happy about after this performance," continued coach Blondell. "You'd like to shut them down the entire game; however, I'm still quite proud of how we were able to jump on them early."
The impressive outburst offensively the Saints put together consisted of sixteen hits and four walks.
Seven Saints players registered at least two hits in the game. Paul Kappaz (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) led the team with three hits (3-for-4), four runs scored and two RBI's. Mike Tarala went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in five RBI's and Trevor Hurley (Sioux Falls, SD) went 2-for-3 with three walks.
Jordan Gard picked up his second consecutive win on the mound.
"I thought Jordan did an excellent job at getting ahead in the count and allowing our defense to help him out," said Blondell. "Overall, this was a nice win for our team and hopefully we can keep it going while on this trip."
The Saints (3-3) will continue their Kentucky Spring Break trip with a double header on Saturday, March 9th against Alice Lloyd College. Game one is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. EST.