STATESBORO, Ga. - Sophomore Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) pitched 7.2 innings, giving up just three hits and two runs to lead the Holy Cross baseball team to a 3-2 victory over Georgia Southern in the final game of the opening series at JI Clements Stadium. The Crusaders end their trip to Statesboro, Ga., with a record of 1-2 while the Eagles go to 3-5 overall.
Two runs were scored by each team in the first inning, leading to a 2-2 tie. After junior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) and sophomore Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) led off the top half of the first with singles, a double to right field by freshman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.), allowed the two base runners to cross home plate. Georgia Southern knotted the score in the bottom half of the inning off a two-run home run by senior Kyle Blackburn, bringing the score to 2-2.
The next four innings became a pitcher's duel as each team combined for just two hits in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. The Crusaders would then break through for the go ahead run in the top of the sixth inning. Tkowski led off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a single by junior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.). A passed ball allowed both runners to move to second and third base respectively. After Wadsworth drew a walk to load the bases, sophomore Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Tkowski to score. With the sacrifice fly, Holy Cross took full grasp of a 3-2 advantage.
Koneski continued his strong showing on the mound, allowing no hits in the sixth and seventh innings before being relieved by senior Ryan George (Seekonk, Mass.) with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. George pitched the final 1.1 innings and faced six batters. Of those batters, George stuck out one and allowed no hits, picking up the save for Holy Cross, his first of the season. The Crusaders finished the nine innings with the final 3-2 victory.
Koneski picked up the winning decision, allowing two runs and three hits in 7.2 innings pitched while striking out three Eagles batters. He goes to 1-0 on the season. Georgia Southern's Chris Beck took the loss, falling to 0-2 this season after allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings pitched. In all, Holy Cross scored three runs on eight hits while the Eagles notched three runs on two hits.
Holy Cross travels to Charleston, S.C., next to play against the College of Charleston tomorrow, March 2. The game will be held at Patriot's Point beginning at 5:00 p.m.