Baseball Takes Two Back From Patriot League Foe Navy
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Senior starters Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.) and Chris Blanchard (Norwich, Conn.) each tallied complete game pitching affairs and struck out a total of 14 batters as the Holy Cross baseball team topped Navy twice, 8-3 and then 6-1, in the final day of the four-game series at Terwilliger Brothers Field. With the day's decisions, Holy Cross registers a 21-19 overall record (9-7 Patriot League) while Navy moves to a record of 26-18 overall (6-10 Patriot League). Freshman Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) led the team in all offensive categories, going 5-for-7 at the plate with five RBI.
The Crusaders scored the opening run in the top of the second inning as junior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) tripled for the second time this season to lead off and then scored on a RBI groundout by sophomore Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.). Holy Cross increased its lead to 3-0 in the following inning, collecting two consecutive hits from junior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) and senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.). After Laurendeau scored on a RBI groundout by senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.), Wadsworth singled for the third hit of the inning to bring home Sills.
Freshman Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) gave the team a 4-0 lead after homering in the first at bat of the fourth inning, starting a four-run rally that also included a two-run single by Wadsworth who collected a team-high three RBI in the game. Shapiro pitched three hitless innings to keep the Midshipmen scoreless through the first three innings and went into the bottom of the fourth inning with an 7-0 cushion. Navy would answer with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth inning, bringing the score to 7-3, but would not round the bases again, as Shapiro notched his first complete game of the season. Laurendeau tallied the final run of the game and his second hit of the game, homering in the top of the fifth inning to mark the final score at 8-3.
Shapiro pitched all seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five batters. With the win, he goes to 4-1 on the season. Navy's Tyler Mapes took the loss, going to 2-1 on the season. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and struck out one.
Pitching was the name of the game again for Holy Cross as Blanchard pitched his first-career complete game, a nine-inning affair where he allowed just one run on six hits total. Holy Cross scored first on a sacrifice fly from Wadsworth, scoring Sills. Navy would tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning on a RBI single. The team's remained tied until the top of the sixth as Holy Cross went ahead 4-1, collecting two big hits from Tkowski, who doubled to score Wadsworth, and Puentes, who homered for the second time on the day, scoring two runs.
Blanchard continued to shut down Navy batters, keeping them scoreless from the third inning on. The Crusaders earned their final two runs in the top of the ninth inning, as Wadsworth and Oxford hit back-to-back RBI singles and giving their team the final 6-1 victory. With the RBI, Wadsworth's hit earned him a perfect 3-for-3 plate outing in the game.
With the winning decision, Blanchard improves to 3-1 on the season as he also struck out a career and season-high nine batters and allowed no walks. Navy's starter Zach Sipe falls to 5-2 on the season after allowing four runs on five hits in six innings pitched.
On the day, Holy Cross scored 14 runs on 23 hits while leaving 18 batters stranded. The Midshipmen scored four runs on 12 hits, leaving 10 runners on base.
The Crusaders play their final Ivy League opponent on Tuesday, April 27, taking on Yale. The game will be a doubleheader with the first game set to begin at 3:30 p.m. in New Haven, Conn.