(South Bend, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints kicked off their home opener with a double header on Monday afternoon against the Maple Leafs of Goshen College. Game one was held in check by the Maple Leafs after a stellar pitching performance and the ability to score some key runs. The Saints turned in a late rally in a tightly contested matchup in game two to pull of a 2-1 victory and series split. After Monday's double header the Saints are now 2-3 overall.
"I thought we struggled to get out bats going early in this game," said head coach Brian Blondell. "Goshen's pitcher did a really nice job of holding us in check the entire game."
A quick first inning by Goshen put the Saints in an early hole after the Maple Leafs jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
Paul Kappaz (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) got the Saints their first hit in the bottom half of the second inning; however, the Saints would struggle to keep things going as they only managed five hits in the game and no more than one in an inning.
Goshen was able to add runs in the fourth, fifth and two in the sixth, which really put the pressure on the Saints late in the game. Unfortunately for Holy Cross, they were unable to capitalize in game one of the series.
Freshman Jared Jayne (Lombard, Ill.) had his first career start on the mound and pitched 5 1/3 innings while giving up ten hits, five earned runs and striking out 3three
Maple Leafs pitcher, Spencer Oversen, pitched a gem of a game for Goshen in game one going all seven innings while allowing only 5 hits and striking out 3 batters.
The Saints fell to Goshen 6-0 in game one.
"Definitely not our best showing," continued Blondell. "We knew we needed to play better in game two if we wanted to get a win back."
Saints pitcher Jordan Gard (Mishawaka, Ind.) pitched a gem of a game for the Saints in game number two. Gard pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowed three hits, one earned run and struck out six. Gard's stellar performance gave him his first career win for the Saints.
"Jordan did an excellent job for us in this game," said Blondell. "He had excellent command on all of his pitches which really helped put us in good shape defensively. This was a big win for our team."
A classic pitchers duel in every way, shape and form took place in the double header finale with both pitchers holding the hitters in check for nearly six innings apiece.
With the score knotted at 0-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Saints strung together two runs off of three hits to take a late 2-0 lead over the Maple Leafs.
Goshen, however, was not going to go away quietly. After putting together their own late rally with runners on first and second with one out, Saints right fielder Giovanni Ayala (Miami, Fla.) complete the play of the day after he launched a frozen rope from right field to get the tying run out at third and put the Saints just one out away from achieving their first home victory of the season.
Freshman Blake Correll (Oak Creek, Wisc.) came in during the top of the seventh to close out the game with the bases loaded and two outs. With emotions rising and pressure increasing, Correll was able to get the leadoff hitter for Goshen to pop out to second base and the Saints picked up their first home win of 2013 by a final of 2-1.
"This was a tough win our guys pulled out tonight," continued coach Blondell. "I'm really proud of how they stuck with it and found ways to make plays. Hopefully this win will jump start us into some more positive momentum."
The Saints are scheduled to return to Coveleski Stadium on Thursday, March 6th to take on Ancilla College in another double header action. The first pitch in game one is set to be thrown out at 2:00 p.m. EST.