Sports Information Director
LAKELAND, Fla. – The Holy Cross Saints baseball team continued their spring break trek around Florida on Thursday with a twinbill against Southeastern University (Fla.). Despite trailing 3-0 early in game one, the Saints would respond to take a lead before the Flames would again respond and force extra innings. Southeastern would receive a game-winning walk-off hit in the eighth inning to knock off the Saints 9-8. In game two, however, the Saints struggled to get hits as they recorded just one as Southeastern would sweep the series by a final score of 11-0.
In a game with 33 combined hits, the Saints got things started in top of the first inning with three of their own. Chris Woodruff (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) got things going with a double to right center but was thrown out at third base trying to stretch it into a triple. Jacob Lanning (JR, Roscoe, Ill.) and Paul Kappaz (JR, Grosse Pointe, Mich.) also produced a pair of back-to-back singles in the inning before the Saints were retired with two runners left on base.
Southeastern was first to put a run on the board after a four-hit second inning where an RBI single up the middle made it a 1-0 score. Jordan Gard (SO, Mishawaka, Ind.) did a good job responding in the inning, despite giving up four hits, to leave three Southeastern runners stranded on the base paths. The Saints would quickly threaten in the top of the third inning with a pair of hits to open up the inning but were unable to put any runs across. It was in the bottom of the third inning where Southeastern was able to extend their lead to 3-0 following a four-hit inning where two runs were scored with the help of a Saints error.
The Saints would finally break through on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning where four consecutive hits, with the help of an error, helped them plate three runs to tie the score at 3-3. Blake Correll (SO, Oak Creek, Wis.) got things started by reaching first base on an infield error before Jackson Hallahan (SR, Lester Prairie, Minn.) drove in the first run while Paul Kappaz drove in two more with a double down the left field line. Their success would continue in the sixth inning as they plated four more runs to open up a 7-3 advantage over Southeastern.
The recent surge by the Saints, though, would be short lived as Southeastern would answer quickly in the bottom half of the inning. The Fire added five runs off of five hits and a Holy Cross error to retake the lead at 8-7.
With pressure increasing in their final opportunity at the plate, the Saints stayed focused in the top of the seventh inning while gaining the assistance of two Southeastern errors. Chris Woodruff finished off a suicide squeeze play to score Pat Sweeney (SR, Sarasota, Fla.) with one out to tie the game at 8-8. They would have their opportunity to take the lead in the inning but left two runners on base. Blake Correll came in to pitch in the bottom of the seventh and shut down the fire in order to send the game into extra innings.
The Saints would get one hit in the eighth inning before Southeastern would close things out with a two-out single to left center to knock off the Saints by a final score of 9-8.
Blake Correll and Chris Woodruff would lead the Saints with three hits apiece while Jacob Lanning, Paul Kappaz and Mike Pizzuto (JR, Sarasota, Fla.) would add two each, respectively. Jackson Hallahan and Kappaz would each drive in a team-best two RBI's.
Jordan Gard would finish the day going 4.1 innings while allowing 11 hits, three runs and striking out four. He would receive a no-decision in the outing.
Game two of the doubleheader proved to be more difficult for the Saints on both offense and defense. The Saints would pick up just one hit, in the first inning, for the entire game as Southeastern quickly opened up a 7-0 advantage. The Fire would add four more runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend their lead to 11-0.
Holy Cross (3-12) would then travel to take on Mount Vernon Nazarene University in a neutral site game on Thursday afternoon.