Sports Information Director
BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – The Holy Cross baseball team opened up its 2014 season on Saturday with a doubleheader against the Union (Ky.) Bulldogs. A rough inning in game one gave the Bulldogs all of the momentum on their way to a 15-6 victory. The Saints responded, however, in game two to knock off Union by a final score of 5-2.
After keeping the Saints off the scoreboard in the top of the first inning in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, the host Bulldogs added the first run of the game in the bottom half to take the early 1-0 lead.
Chris Woodruff got the Saints started in the second inning with a leadoff single. Woodruff then swiped second base for his first steal of the year and advanced to third after the throwing error by the catcher. Senior Ben Bournay brought Woodruff home with an RBI single to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
It was the bottom of the second inning when things started to become pear-shaped for the Saints. The Bulldogs turned in eight runs off of six hits to open up a 9-1 advantage. Their success would continue in the third and fourth as they would add five more runs over that span to extend their lead to 14-1.
Stephen Clancy got the Saints offense started in the top of the fifth inning with a walk. Paul Kappaz turned in an infield single with two outs to keep the inning alive. Jacob Lanning would provide another big play for the Saints with a single up the middle to load up the bases. However, a fielder's choice where Kappaz was tagged out at third would end the inning for the Saints with three runner's left stranded.
The Saints found some much needed success in the top of the seventh inning where they added five runs off of two hits and with the help of two errors to close out the game. They would ultimately fall in game one by a final score of 15-6.
Matt Schwitz suffered the loss in game one allowing seven hits and nine runs in two innings of action. Mike Pizzuto, Jackson Hallahan and Jacob Lanning each had two hits for the game. Pizzuto led the team with two RBI's.
"Despite the tough second inning, I thought the team really settled in during the later stages," Blondell stated. "The last inning provided great momentum for us heading into the series finale. Overall I thought we played solid in the game despite the one difficult inning."
The opening inning of game two started much like game one ended for the Saints as Paul Kappaz jumpstarted a two-out rally with a double down the left field line. Jacob Lanning followed up the Kappaz double with his first career home run as the Saints opened up an early 2-0 advantage in the first inning.
Sophomore Jordan Gard held off an early defensive error by the Saints in the bottom half of the inning to strand two runners on base as the Saints would keep their lead at 2-0.
After a Mike Pizzuto single in the second, sophomore catcher Blake Correll laced a double down the left field line to score Pizzuto and extend the Saints lead to 3-0. The Saints would add three more runs in the third inning after RBI's from Max Linnville and Chris Woodruff to make it a 5-0 game.
Jordan Gard continued to pitch strong in his season debut allowing just one run over 5.1 innings pitched. Gard gave up seven hits and struck out five as he improved to 1-0 on the season.
Darwing Ereu closed the game out for the Saints over the final 1.2 innings, allowing one run (unearned) and striking out one while picking up his first career save.
Jacob Lanning continued his strong day with a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate in game two with two runs and two RBI's, including his first inning home run. Paul Kappaz and Blake Correll each added two more hits for the Saints in the series finale as they outhit the Bulldogs 12-8 in game two.
"It was a great bounce back game for our guys," continued Blondell. "Lanning set the tone early with the first inning home run. I thought Jordan did a great job on the mound for us and controlled the game very well. It was great to get a split with a talented team like Union to open up the season."
The Saints (1-1) will wrap up their Kentucky trip with a doubleheader against Cumberlands (Ky.) on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST.