Sports Information Director
LAKE WALES, Fla. – The Holy Cross Saints baseball team wrapped up their spring break trip in Florida on Saturday afternoon with a twinbill against the Royals of Warner (Fla.) University. Trailing by four runs through three innings, the Saints battled back to get within one during game one but were unable to get over the hump as they dropped the game by a final of 5-4. A pair of big innings in game two, headlined by a pair of errors, hurt the Saints as Warner got off to a quick start with a 9-0 lead. The Saints would add just one run in the game as they'd fall in the series finale by a final score of 11-1 to close out their spring break trip.
After shutting the Saints down in order in the top of the first, the Royals pieced together a productive bottom half of the first inning where they turned a one-out single into a 1-0 advantage after a sacrifice fly. The Saints would answer to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the third inning as the first three batters reached base successfully. Ben Bournay (SR, Dowagiac, Mich.) led the inning off with a single through the right side while Darwing Ereu (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) followed up reaching base after a misplayed ball by the shortstop. Chris Woodruff (JR, Mishawaka, Ind.) then added a single to right field to load up the bases with no outs. The Saints would ground into a double play on their next appearance though leading to a run to tie the score at 1-1.
The difficulty of responding defensively, however, continued in the bottom half of the third inning as the game quickly turned into Warner's favor. The Royals added four runs off of three hits and two errors by the Saints to open up a 5-1 advantage. Holy Cross would add a pair of two-out hits in the ensuing inning but were unable to produce any runs. They would get things started in the inning with back-to-back hits leading to a sacrifice fly from Max Linnville (SO, Boone, N.C.) to make the score 5-2. Mike Pizzuto (JR, Sarasota, Fla.) would add an RBI single while Stephen Clancy (JR, Yorkville, Ill.) produced a sacrifice fly to bring the Saints within 5-4. They closed out the inning with three runs and four hits but left two runners on base.
Adam Janowiak (FR, Granger, Ind.) came out of the bullpen to log a season-high 3.1 innings and striking out two batters while not allowing a hit to keep the Royals off the base paths. Unfortunately for the Saints, they were unable to complete the comeback as they dropped game one by a final of 5-4.
Matt Schwitz (JR, Granger, Ind.) (0-4) suffered the loss in the outing after pitching 2.2 innings and allowing four hits and five runs (two earned).
A pair of errors in the third inning of game two put the Saints in trouble as Warner opened up a 5-0 lead. The success of the royals would continue in the bottom of the fourth as they would add four more runs off four hits to extend their lead to 9-0.
Paul Kappaz (JR, Grosse Pointe, Mich.) opened up the most productive offensive inning for the Saints in the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff double. Stephen Clancy would advance Kappaz to third base before Michael Rostine (SO, Hanover Park, Ill.) would drive in the run with a single to left field to make it a 9-1 ballgame.
The Royals would score the final two runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after three walks led to two runs after a pair of sacrifice fly's.
The Saints bullpen would allow just one hit over the final 2.2 innings but surrendered three runs. Jake Wood (SR, South Haven, Mich.) pitched a scoreless fifth inning while Michael Drury (FR, St. Louis, Mo.) made his career debut on the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning. The lefty would get through the inning without surrendering a base runner and recorded his first career strikeout.
Michael Rostine would lead the Saints at the plate going 2-for-2 and driving in the only run of the game. Mike Tarala (JR, Schererville, Ind.) and Pat Sweeney (SR, Sarasota, Fla.) each came on late in the game with pinch-hit singles.
Jacob Lanning (JR, Roscoe, Ill.) (0-4) suffered the loss in the decision after pitching 3.1 innings while allowing seven hits, eight runs (three earned) and striking out two.
The Saints concluded their spring break trip with a 2-8 record, but head coach Brian Blondell knows his team is right there.
"It's never easy to accept losing, especially when five of the losses on this trip were one-run games," Blondell stated. "The goal now is to continue to stay focused mentally and execute better in these tight games. There's a lot of season to be played and it begins on Tuesday against Goshen."
The Saints (3-15) will host Goshen (Ind.) in their home opener on Tuesday, March 18 at Four Winds Field with a doubleheader. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm EST.