Sports Information Director
(Kalamazoo, Mich.) The Holy Cross Saints took a break from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play to open the week with a road doubleheader against NCAA Division III opponent Kalamazoo College. Freshman Alex Erwin (Niles, Mich.) pitched six shutout innings in game one to help the Saints cruise to a 6-0 victory. A late rally by the Hornets in game two sent the game to extra innings where the Saints were able to come out on top 9-8 in eleven innings. The sweep for the Saints extends their current winning streak to four games and improves their record to 16-21 overall.
"Alex did a great job setting the tone for us in game one," coach Blondell said. "We were able to get on the board first and set the tone for the rest of the game."
After the first two batters were retired in order, the Saints put together their first two out rally of the day and scored two runs in the top of the first after a double to left center from Mike Pizzuto (Sarasota, Fla.). The hit for Pizzuto extended his hitting streak to eleven games.
The Saints added to their early 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning after scoring three runs off three hits and two Hornets errors. All three runs in the inning, and each of their first five runs, came with two outs. The Saints added one final run in the top of the seventh inning after an RBI single from Paul Kappaz (Grosse Pointe, Mich.). Austin Kiser-Petrie (Star City, Ind.) shut down the Hornets in order in the bottom of the seventh to help seal the Saints 6-0 game on victory.
Alex Erwin (3-3) pitched six shutout innings for the Saints while giving up just four hits, two walks and striking out one. The outing for Erwin gave him his third win of the season.
Dan Wawrzusin (Potomac, MD) went 3-for-3 with two runs scored while Giovanni Ayala (Miami, Fla.) and Paul Kappaz each picked up two hits in four at bats. Mike Pizzuto and Max Linnville (Boone, NC) each picked up a pair of RBI's.
With game two underway, the Saints once again were quick to strike after picking up a run in the top of the first inning.
Kalamazoo answered for the first time in the series in the bottom of the first inning with two runs of their own to overtake the Saints with a 2-1 advantage.
The Hornets held control in the second inning before Mike Pizzuto laced a two-run double to right center field to give the Saints not only a 3-2 lead, but extend his hitting streak to twelve games.
The Saints added three more runs in the top of the fifth inning without recording a hit. With the bases loaded and one out, Max Linnville reached on a throwing error by the third basemen which scored all three runners and brought Linnville all the way to third base on the play. Through the top of the fifth, the Saints held a 6-2 advantage over Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo added two runs in the bottom half of the fifth, but the Saints followed up with one run in the top of the seventh to make it a 7-4 game. It was in the bottom of the seventh, however, where the Hornets turned in their own two out rally to tie the game at seven after a two run single up the middle brought home the games tying run. The Saints headed to extra innings for just the second time this season.
After scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, the Saints saw the Hornets once again match it with a run of their own to send the game to at least one more inning. With both teams failing to score in the tenth, we headed to the eleventh inning.
Just like in game one, the Saints found one final two out rally in them in the top of the eleventh after Max Linnville hit a double to center field with two outs. Following Linnville, Ben Bournay (Dowagiac, Mich.) hit an opposite field single to right field to bring home the go-ahead run and make it a 9-8 Saints advantage.
Austin Kiser-Petrie (1-1) held the Hornets in check in the bottom of the eleventh getting all three batters out and picking up his first win of the season.
Zach Mahalko (Belle Vernon, PA) registered a no-decision in the start after pitching 4 2/3 innings while giving up five hits and four runs, just one earned.
"We definitely made it interesting out there, but found a way to pull of the win in the end," continued Blondell. "It was a gutty performance from the guys and I'm proud of how they continued to battle after giving up the lead late. Good teams find a way to win and I believe we are on that track."
The Saints will resume Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action tomorrow evening in Bensenville, Ill. with a doubleheader against Robert Morris University. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. EST. Live audio for tomorrow's games can be found here.