Sports Information Director
(Bourbonnais, Ill.) An impressive offensive performance from the Saints on Saturday afternoon helped pave way for a Saturday sweep over the Tigers of Olivet Nazarene University. The Saints scored ten runs in game one and sixteen in game two to clinch two one-run wins over the Tigers. This was the first time the Saints have beaten Olivet in the young history of Saints baseball. With the two wins the Saints took the three-game series 2-1 and now improve to 14-21 overall and 8-10 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
"Today was an incredible offensive effort from our team," coach Brian Blondell stated. "We gave up a lot of runs in both games, but fortunately scored more runs then them. This was a big day for our guys as they beat a very good ball club."
The offensive effort from the Saints got going early and often in Saturday's doubleheader beginning with a two run off four hits effort in the top of the first inning. Olivet answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own and held the Saints hitless to open the top of the second inning.
A quick response from the Andrew Salazar (Tucson, AZ) and the Saints defense in the bottom of the second, where they threw out the tying run at home plate, allowed them to keep their 2-1 lead through two innings.
The third inning brought plenty of action from both teams as the Saints put up three runs in the top half while the Tigers answered back with two of their own; however, the Saints still clung to a two run lead at 5-3.
A four run top of the fifth gave the Saints their largest lead of the day, however, Olivet once again answered back with a four run bottom of the fifth to keep the game within reach at 9-8 Holy Cross. Both teams score one run apiece in the sixth which gave the Saints a 10-9 advantage, which they held onto through the final inning to pick up their first win over the Tigers in program history.
Andrew Salazar (3-2) picked up his third win of the season after pitching four innings while giving up eight hits, four runs and striking out one batter. Freshman Blake Correll (Oak Creek, Wisc.) picked up his seventh save of the season after pitching the final three innings.
Four Saints hitters picked up at least two hits in the game, led by Paul Kappaz (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) who finished 3-for-4 with four RBI's. Mike Pizzuto (Sarasota, Fla.), Giovanni Ayala (Miami, Fla.) and Trevor Hurley (Sioux Falls, SD) each went 2-for-3. Pizzuto also drove in three RBI's.
Similar to game one, the Saints were able to put runs on the board early and often in game two of the doubleheader.
After the first three hitters of the game were each hit by a pitch to load up the bases, a two-run single by Paul Kappaz and a two-run home run from Mike Pizzuto gave the Saints an early 4-0 lead after the first inning. The home run for Pizzuto was his first of the season and the first for the Saints this year.
The Tigers added four runs of their own in the bottom of the second to tie the game off of five hits and one Saints error.
It was the top of the third where the Saints saw their most productive inning of the day after posting six runs off of three hits and three errors from the Tigers making it a 10-4 advantage.
The offense continued to be productive scoring three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth to make it a 16-5 advantage heading to the bottom of the fifth. The Tigers, however, were just getting started themselves.
Olivet scored a combined seven runs in the fifth and sixth inning to cut the Saints lead to 16-12 through six innings. After scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth, it was now just a 16-14 Saints lead.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth after giving up their 15th run, freshman Blake Correll came in and got a pop out to the shortstop to hold Tigers comeback just short, and give the Saints a Saturday sweep and 2-1 series advantage over the Tigers. In the process, Correll picked up his school record eighth save.
Jordan Gard (Mishawaka, Ind.) (4-2) picked up his team-best fourth win of the season after pitching four innings and giving up nine hits and eight runs (six earned).
Six Saints hitters recorded at least two hits, led by Mike Pizzuto who finished 4-for-4 with a team best three RBI's. Max Linnville (Boone, NC) and Ben Bournay (Dowagiac, Mich.) also each picked up three RBI's.
"Not exactly how you draw it up, but what an effort from our guys to hold on strong and pick up two huge wins," continued Blondell. "This is not an easy place to come in and get wins, and to leave with two out of three is an impressive job from our team. Now we just need to keep building off this momentum, iron out our kinks, and keep rolling."
The Saints will resume action on Tuesday, April 9th with a doubleheader against Kalamazoo College. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. EST.