CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern earned a two out, bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning breaking a 6-6 tie and dropping the Holy Cross baseball team by the final score of 7-6 at Buccaneer Ballpark. The Crusaders register a 1-4 overall record after the heartbreaking loss while the Buccaneers improve to an overall record of 3-6 on the season. Junior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) would lead Holy Cross offensively, collecting two hits, including a two-run home run, and two runs scored in five at-bats.
Charleston Southern would score six unanswered runs over the first three innings, getting three runs across home plate in the bottom of the first inning, two runs in the second inning and one run in the third inning. Centerfielder Tom Burkett picked up a single and two-run double to lead the Buccaneers offensively as the team combined for seven hits.
Holy Cross cut the Buccaneer lead in half in the top of the fourth inning. After Oxford led off the inning with a single, fellow junior Nick Ciardello (Edison, N.J.), who collected the team's only hit in the first three innings, singled again, getting Oxford into scoring position. Freshman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) then walked to load the bases. Senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.) followed up with a single through the right side, scoring Oxford. Ciardello touched home for the second run after freshman Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) singled, tallying his third hit and third RBI of the season. Freshman Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) picked up the third RBI of the inning after hitting a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Wadsworth to score. The Crusaders finished the fourth inning down by three runs, 6-3.
The Crusaders came within one run of Charleston Southern, 6-5, in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Oxford continued his explosive outings at the plate, breaking out for a two-run homerun to right field and bringing in the fourth and fifth Holy Cross runs. After a scoreless sixth inning, Holy Cross junior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.), who came in to the game as a pinch runner, would get into scoring position in the top of the seventh inning on a sacrifice bunt by Wadsworth. One out later, Maldonado singled to the shortstop, sending Laurendeau home and knotting the score at 6-6.
Senior Ryan George (Seekonk, Mass.) relieved senior starter Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shapiro, who allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits in the first three innings, settled in for his last three innings, leaving the game with a no decision. He totaled 6.0 innings pitched, allowing the six runs on seven hits while striking out seven Buccaneer batters. George would strike out two of the three batters he faced to end the inning as Charleston Southern left two runners stranded.
With the game still tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning, George would load the bases with two outs, walking two batters and allowing a single to come through. After the second walk of the inning, Charleston Southern's first baseman Derek Smith singled to send the go-ahead run home, dropping the Crusaders in the last inning by a final score of 7-6.
George, in his third appearance of the season, picked up the loss for Holy Cross. He pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing the lone run on three hits while striking out two batters. He moves to 0-1 on the season. Charleston Southern pitcher Corey Deighan received the win. Deighan came in to pitch two solid innings to close out the game, allowing no hits and striking out two batters. He goes to 2-0 on the season. In all, Holy Cross scored six runs on 11 hits while the Buccaneers scored seven runs on 13 hits. Smith led his squad with four hits, including the game-winner.
Holy Cross wraps up the three-game series against Charleston Southern tomorrow, March 6. The teams will face off in a double-header beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Buccaneer Ballpark.