(Oakland City, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints opened up the 2013 season in impressive fashion on Sunday afternoon in game one of their three-game series against the Oaks of Oakland City University. A four-run eight inning, paired with shutdown pitching from freshman Jared Jayne (Lombard, Ill.), helped the Saints pick up their first win of the year.
"I was extremely proud of how hard our guys battled in today's game," said head coach Brian Blondell. "There were a few occasions when we had our backs against the wall and the pressure was on, however, our guys refused to give in."
The Saints were first to get on the board in the top of the second inning after scrapping together two hits and reaching on an error by the Oaks which allowed Trevor Hurley (Sioux Falls, Sd.) score from third. Oakand City was quick to respond in the bottom half of the second inning as they tied the game off a double to left field.
Holy Cross retook the lead briefly in the top of the fourth inning before the Oaks scrapped together the tying run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 2-2.
Freshman pitcher Jordan Gard (Mishawaka, Ind.) made his first start of the season for the Saints and pitched five innings while giving up 9 hits and two earned runs.
It was in the bottom of the sixth inning, after the Saints took a 3-2 lead, that Oakland City rallied for 3 runs on 3 hits to put the Saints behind 5-3.
The Saints would get cut the lead to 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning before putting together an impressive top half of the eighth inning where they scored 4 runs on 4 hits to take an 8-5 lead.
Jared Jayne took control on the mound for the Saints over the final three innings and shut down the Oaks helping the Saints pick up their first win of the season. Jayne pitched 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen while giving up 4 hits and striking out 4.
Daniel Wawrzusin (Potomac, Md.), Michael Pizzuto (Sarasota, Fla.) and Trevor Hurley each recorded 3 hits in the game. Pizzuto also recorded his first two doubles of the season.
Jared Jayne's impressive bullpen relief wasn't all he did to help the Saints pick up the win. Jayne also went 2-fo-4 from the plate, scored 3 runs and picked up two stolen bases.
Also noteworthy, Saints head coach Brian Blondell picked up his first career win as head coach of the Saints.
"A real big win for our team," continued coach Blondell. "Jared was awesome for us at the plate and on the mound. If we continue to compete like we did today, these guys will really see all their hard work pay off."
The Saints will continue their series with Oakland City University on Monday, February 25th with a double-header against the Oaks. The first pitch is set to be thrown at 1:00 p.m. EST.