Sports Information Director
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Holy Cross baseball team returned to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action on Saturday afternoon with a home doubleheader against the Panthers of Purdue North Central. Despite two solid pitching performances in the opening games, the Saints lost an early 1-0 lead in game one as the Panthers came back with a 2-1 victory. Holy Cross would respond on offense and defense in game two as they knocked off PNC by a final of 1-0 to even up the series.
The Saints threatened early in the bottom of the first inning in game one after loading up the bases with just one out. Back-to-back strikeouts from PNC pitcher Snyder, however, would end the threat with three runners left on base.
A trio of hits in the bottom of the second, including the RBI single from Jackson Hallahan (SR/Lester Prairie, Minn.), put the Saints on the board with the 1-0 lead.
It was in the top of the fifth inning where the Panthers began to develop threats on the base paths. A leadoff walk, paired with back-to-back hit batters, helped provide the game-tying run on the fielder's choice. A wild pitch to the next batter led to the Panthers second run of the inning and a 2-1 advantage.
The Saints would add just two hits over the final two innings, unable to bring home the tying run. PNC took game one by a final score of 2-1.
Trey Bickel (FR/Mishawaka, Ind.) (1-4) suffered the loss in the decision after pitching 4.2 innings and allowing two hits, two runs and striking out one. Adam Janowiak (FR/Granger, Ind.) came in out of the bullpen to pitch 2.1 innings while allowing just one hit and striking out two.
Matt Schwitz (JR/Granger, Ind.) took the mound in game two for the Saints fresh off his second career win against Cardinal Stritch earlier in the week.
The Panthers provided a big a threat in the top of the first in game two after getting the bases loaded up with just one out. A strong defensive effort from Jackson Hallahan and Darwing Ereu (JR/Mishawaka, Ind.), though, turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the early PNC threat.
Schwitz followed up the bases loaded first with three strikeouts in the second to get the Saints back to the plate.
Pinch running for the catcher, Jordan Hinton (SO/Granger, Ind.), Tom McCartney (JR/Saginaw, Mich.) stole second base before advancing to third on the single to left field from Darwing Ereu. McCartney would then score on a passed ball to give the Saints the 1-0 lead.
Following the 1-0 lead, Schwitz continued to be productive on the mound. He completed seven shutout innings while allowing just six hits and striking out a season-high six batters.
Jacob Lanning (JR/Roscoe, Ill.) came in to pitch for the final six outs for the Saints, allowing just one hit on the way to his second save of the season as the Saints held on for the 1-0 win.
In the doubleheader, the Saints left a combined 19 batters on base.
Matt Schwitz (3-4, 4.95 ERA) has now picked up a win in each of his last three appearances on the mound.
"It was big for our guys to come out and this win in the second game," head coach Brian Blondell stated. "We missed some big opportunities in both games, but found a way to grind a tough 1-0 win in game two. It's now time to close out the three-game set on Sunday."
The Saints (9-23, 5-4 CCAC) will wrap up the three-game series on the road Sunday afternoon in Westville, Ind. Jordan Gard (SO/Mishawaka, Ind.) (2-2, 3.40 ERA) is the projected Saints starter.