Baseball Splits Final Doubleheader With Lehigh

Steve Tkowski

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Matt Perry (Sudbury, Mass.) marked a hit in all but one of his six  at bats as the Holy Cross baseball team split the final doubleheader against Lehigh, falling 5-2 and winning 14-6, at Goodman Campus. With the decisions, Holy Cross moves to a 23-22 overall record (10-10 Patriot League) while Lehigh collects a record of 21-25 overall (12-8 Patriot League). Because of the split, the Crusaders will now play as the No. 3 seed in the 2010 Patriot League Tournament while Lehigh earns the No. 2 spot and home field advantage. 

GAME ONE

Junior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) put the Crusaders on the board first in the top of the first inning, scoring fellow Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) who led off with a single to extend his hit-streak to 15 games. Lehigh went up 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning, scoring its runs on a three-run home run. Holy Cross would get within one-run, 3-2, in the top of the fifth inning as Perry picked up his second hit of the day with a RBI single, scoring Laurendeau for the second time in the game.

The Mountain Hawks put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning, collecting two more runs on four hits off of senior starter Matt Shapiro (Raynham, Mass.). Shapiro, who had allowed just three runs through five innings pitched prior to the final inning, picked up his second complete game of the season, but tallied the loss.

With the decision, Shapiro falls to 4-2 on the season. He finished the game allowing five runs on seven hits and striking out five. Lehigh's starter Mike Lebo would earn the winning decision, improving to 4-3 on the season. He allowed two runs to score on six hits while striking out four batters.

GAME TWO

Holy Cross' offense picked up the pace in the second outing, as the team went up 4-0 in the top of the first inning. Oxford and junior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) earned RBI, including a three-run home run from Ciardiello. Lehigh made it a one-run game, 4-3, in the bottom of the third inning, picking up three runs on four hits and then took a 5-4 lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Holy Cross answered with two runs to regain a 6-4 lead in the top of the sixth inning as sophomore Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) doubled for a team-best 20th time this season, scoring Ciardiello and Oxford. The team extended its lead with one run in the top of the sixth inning and then continued to break out offensively for three more runs in the top of the seventh inning as Ciardiello homered for the second time in the game to bring his season total to 10. Laurendeau doubled as well in the inning, picking up two RBI.

With the score at 10-5, the Crusaders scored four additional unanswered runs to go up 14-5 heading into the last half of the final ninth inning. Tkowski highlighted the eighth inning with a two-run home run while senior John Sills (Milton, Mass.) earned his first RBI on the day with a two-run single in the top of the ninth. Lehigh would score one last run in the bottom of the ninth, marking the final score at 14-6.

Senior reliever Ryan George (Seekonk, Mass.) returned to form to tally his third win of the season after pitching 4.2 shut out innings. He improves to 3-3 on the season. Lehigh's Jordan Warncke marked the loss, dropping to 0-2 on the season. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits.

On the day, Holy Cross scored 16 runs on 23 hits while leaving 14 base runners stranded. The Mountain Hawks scored 11 runs 20 hits, leaving 15 runners on base. Tkowski and Ciardiello also marked four RBI apiece to lead the team.

The Crusaders play in their final game of the regular season in a make up contest against Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 4. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. at Earl Lorden Field in Amherst, Mass.