Sports Information Director
BABSON PARK, Fla. – The Holy Cross Saints baseball team continued their spring break trip in Florida on Tuesday night with a game against the Webber International University Warriors. Despite a tough third inning where the team allowed four runs, the Saints remained composed in the late stages to pull within one run in the top of the ninth before ultimately falling by a final score of 4-3. Starter Matt Schwitz (JR, Granger, Ind.) pitched all eight innings in the loss allowing 10 hits, four runs and striking out two, but really found his groove after the difficult third inning. Paul Kappaz (JR, Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Stephen Clancy (JR, Yorkville, Ill.) each led the Saints with two hits in the loss.
After going down in order in the first inning, the Saints got off to a solid start in the second inning as Paul Kappaz led the inning off with a double down the left field line. Jordan Hinton (SO, Granger, Ind.) would advance Kappaz to third base on the next at bat but the Saints were unable to bring the run home after the next two batters went down in order.
The Warriors were first to find success on offense in the bottom of the third inning after a leadoff double. With runners on second and third with one out, Bryan Reed (FR, Charlotte, Mich.) made a big stop at first base to force the second out and leave the runners stranded. A trio of two out hits, however, would help the Warriors plate four two-out runs to open up a 4-0 lead through three.
Following the four-run third inning, starting pitcher Matt Schwitz really began to settle into a rhythm on the mound. After giving up a two-out double in the in the fifth, Schwitz would respond to get out of the inning and strand the runner on second base.
The Saints muster up another offensive threat in the sixth inning when Jacob Lanning (JR, Roscoe, Ill.) laced a two-out triple to right center field to give the Saints an opportunity to trim the Warriors lead. Webber's starting pitcher, though, would get out of the jam with a groundout to third base as the Warriors would maintain their 4-0 advantage.
Holy Cross would again rely on the arm of Schwitz and their defense in the sixth inning as the Warriors would get runners on second and third with two outs and the threat at extending their lead. Schwitz would force a ground ball to Lanning at second base which would end the threat and take us to the seventh inning with the score still locked at 4-0.
The seventh inning would prove to the be first significant rally the Saints would have as Jordan Hinton reached on an error by the third basemen and reach second base on the wide throw to first base. Stephen Clancy would follow Hinton's start to the inning with a double to center field giving the Saints runners at second and third with no outs. An error by the Warriors second basemen allowed both runs to score and bring the Saints within 4-2 and no outs. Bryan Reed would lay down a well-placed sacrifice bunt to advance Linnville to second base, however, the Saints were unable to bring home their third run of the inning. Momentum was now leaning in the Saints favor.
Matt Schwitz would leave to runners on base in the bottom of the eighth to give the Saints one final push to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Stephen Clancy would get things going in the inning with a leadoff single to the center field. Clancy would then steal second base and advance to third on the single from Bryan Reed. Darwing Ereu (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) would reach first base on a fielder's choice, and throwing error by the third basemen, scoring Clancy and bringing the Saints within one run. The Saints would eventually have the bases loaded with the tying run at third base and two outs but were unable to get the run in as there rally would come up just short.
"You're starting to see that we are right there with a lot of these very talented teams," head coach Brian Blondell said. "Our team continued to play until the final out and provided a great effort over nine innings. We're right there and I know the results will start coming.
"Matt did a great job on the mound for us," continued Blondell. "He could have folded after that tough inning but he responded with great stuff and kept us in the game."
Matt Schwitz (0-3) pitched all eight innings in the loss while allowing 10 hits, four runs and striking out two.
Paul Kappaz and Stephen Clancy each went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the team.
Holy Cross (3-10) will continue their Florida trip on Thursday with a doubleheader against Southeastern University (20-9). The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 4:00 pm EST.
Live video for the doubleheader can be found here.