(South Bend, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints baseball team wrapped up their three game conference series opener with the Trolls of Trinity Christian College on Saturday afternoon after splitting their two game double header. Ben Bournay (Dowagiac, Mich.) lifted the Saints with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh of game one to clinch the Saints first conference victory at 5-4. Hits were tough to come by for the Saints in game two as they fell to the Trolls 6-0 and recorded only two hits in the contest. The Saints record sits at 6-11 overall and 1-2 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) after the split.
"A great late comeback by our guys in this game," said Saints head coach Brian Blondell. "We got down early but I thought our team continued to fight and not panic. Calib (Wininger) did an excellent job slowing down after giving up a couple of runs in the first and really helped us stay in the game."
The Saints got off to a bit of a rocky start in game one of their double header after giving up three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning.
Despite the rough first inning, starting pitcher Calib Wininger (Kokomo, Ind.) really picked it up on the mound and got the Saints through 6 1/3 innings while giving up just two more hits since the three hit first inning.
The Saints made their offensive rally in the bottom of the fourth inning after benefitting from two errors by the Trolls. The biggest error came after Daniel Wawrzusin (Potomac, MD) hit a single up the middle which the center fielder over ran allowing both Paul Kappaz (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Wawrzusin to score on the play.
A two hit fifth inning by the Saints knotted the games tying run after Ben Bournay laced a single to right field scoring Trevor Hurley (Sioux Falls, SD). The hit for Bournay extended his hit streak to fifteen consecutive games.
Trinity Christian answered back with a run of their own to tie the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning after an error by the Saints.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ben Bournay became the hero of the day after lacing a single to right field bringing home the games winning run. This was the first walk-off win for the Saints this season.
Bournay finished with a team best 3-for-4 hitting performance at the plate while driving in one RBI.
"This was an exciting game," continued coach Blondell. "The guys showed that they could handle adversity and ended up coming up big in the big moments."
After an emotional walk-off win in game one, the Saints struggled to get hits in game two.
Finishing with only two hits during the nine inning game, the Saints fell victim to Trinity Christian's starting pitcher Rick Tilquist who tossed a complete game shutout. Tilquist also struck out six with zero walks and only two hits.
The Trolls once again got off to a solid start against the Saints after a two run first inning.
It wasn't until the fourth inning where the Saints registered their first hit of the game; a Max Linnville (Boone, NC) single up the middle.
Ben Bournay recorded a hit in the bottom of the seventh to extend his hitting streak to sixteen consecutive games.
Freshman starting pitcher Alex Erwin (Niles, Mich.) had some control issues early in the game but went 3 1/3 innings while giving up four hits, three runs (two earned) and walking five.
Austin Kiser-Petrie (Star City, Ind.) pitched the final three innings for the Saints and only allowed two hits while striking out two.
"Game two was definitely difficult for us to get anything going," continued coach Blondell. "Their pitcher did a great job attacking the strike zone and putting our guys in a pitchers count. We need to do a better job of starting out strong on the mound and establishing control."
The Saints will return to action on Tuesday, March 19th as they travel to Elgin, Illinois to take on the 25th ranked of Judson University in double header action. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 4:00 p.m. EST.