Sports Information Director
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Holy Cross Saints baseball team opened up their 2014 spring break trip on Friday afternoon against the Victory (Tenn.) University Eagles. After giving up an early 1-0 lead in the third, the Saints took a 4-2 lead to the bottom of the sixth inning. It was in that bottom half where the Eagles would add two runs to tie the score at 4-4 before adding the go-ahead and game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. The Saints would get the tying run as far as second base in the top of the ninth but were unable to bring it home as they dropped game one of the three-game weekend series by a final score of 5-4.
A double from Chris Woodruff (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) to start the game had the Saints in prime position in Friday afternoon's meeting with the Eagles. A pickoff from the catcher, however, stalled the early momentum as Victory (Tenn.) then shut down the next two hitters to leave the top of the first unscathed.
The Eagles posed their own similar threat in the bottom half of the inning following a pair of hits, including a leadoff double, to open up the inning. Junior starting pitcher Matt Schwitz (JR, Granger, Ind.) would hold strong, though, and shut down the next three hitters and keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard.
Victory was the first to strike, however, in the bottom of the third inning after stringing together a pair of hits. The Saints were quick to respond in the top of the fourth with five hits resulting in three runs. Stephen Clancy (JR, Yorkville, Ill.) got things started with an RBI single while Jordan Hinton (SO, Granger, Ind.) responded immediately after with an RBI double. Ben Bournay (SR, Dowagiac, Mich.) wrapped up the three-run inning with an RBI single to right center as the Saints took a 3-1 lead.
The Eagles added their second run of the game with a two-out single by Bartlett. With the tying run on second, sophomore Blake Correll (SO, Oak Creek, Wis.) came in to pitch and got Hallman to line out to shortstop. The Saints would take their 3-2 lead to the fifth inning.
Jackson Hallahan (SR, Lester Prairie, Minn.) and Paul Kappaz (JR, Grosse Pointe, Mich.) started the inning off with back-to-back hits before Jacob Lanning (JR, Roscoe, Ill.) safely sacrificed the runners into scoring position. After Mike Pizzuto (JR, Sarasota, Fla.) was intentionally walked to load the bases, Stephen Clancy brought home the fourth run of the game for the Saints to extend their lead to 4-2. Correll would shut the Eagles down in the fifth inning as the Saints lead would hold strong.
A leadoff walk followed by a bunt single had the Eagles in prime position to start the bottom of the sixth inning. An ensuing sacrifice bunt would then advance the runners into scoring position with just one out. The Saints would give up their third run of the game after a groundout to the second basemen but would maintain their 4-3 lead with two outs. Victory would tie the game on a wild pitch and we would head to the seventh inning all knotted up at 4-4.
After going down in order in the top of the seventh, the Saints saw their previous two-run lead disappear following a two-out double down the left field line.
Trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning, sophomore Max Linnville (SO, Boone, N.C.) kept the Saints alive in the inning with a two-out pinch hit to bring a base runner aboard. The Saints were unable to move the runner and would be down to three final outs for a chance to tie the game.
Darwing Ereu (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) opened up the ninth inning with a double to left center to put the Saints in prime position for an opportunity to tie the game. As the next batter struck out, Jackson Hallahan then flew out to center field with Ereu advancing to third on the tag. It was after an appeal, though, that Ereu was called for leaving the base early and the Eagles capped off the 5-4 win.
Chris Woodruff, Jacob Lanning and Paul Kappaz each picked up a pair of hits for the Saints while Stephen Clancy led the way with two RBI's. Darwing Ereu (0-1) suffered the loss after 2.1 innings out of the bullpen while allowing just one run.
The Saints (1-8) will look to end their seven-game losing streak on Saturday as they open up a doubleheader with the Eagles beginning at 1:00 pm EST. Jordan Gard (SO, Mishawaka, Ind.) (1-1) and Trey Bickel (FR, Mishawaka, Ind.) (0-1) are the projected starting pitchers for the Saints.