WILMINGTON, N.C. – Sophomore Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) led the Holy Cross baseball team's offensive front with four RBI, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a triple and double, as the squad topped St. Joseph's 16-3, at neutral site Brooks Field. With the decision, the Crusaders pick up a record of 2-3 while the Hawks go to 5-6 on the season. Senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) also had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI.
The Hawks scored first, going up 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, collecting two hits off junior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.), including a RBI single. Holy Cross took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning, registering two runs on two hits. After senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) was hit by a pitch, Oxford doubled to put Laurendeau in scoring position. With one out, sophomore Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) brought Laurendeau home on a RBI groundout. Sophomore Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) singled through the center in the next at-bat, scoring Oxford for the second run. The Crusaders would load the bases on a fielding error and another hit batsman, but failed to score again, ending the fourth inning up 2-1.
The Crusaders made it a five-run game in the top of the fifth inning, belting out three big hits and scoring four runs. Oxford notched the first RBI, reaching on a fielding error that allowed sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to score from third base. Four batters and two outs later, Puentes tripled to right field, clearing the loaded bases as Laurendeau, Oxford and senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.Y.) came around to score, boosting Holy Cross to a 6-1 lead. Croglio allowed one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning before being relieved by sophomore Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) in the bottom of the sixth, leaving the game with his team up 6-2.
Holy Cross broke the game open in the top of the seventh, scoring six runs on seven hits and batting through the order. Puentes earned his fourth RBI of the day, doubling through the right side for the team's third straight hit, scoring Wadsworth, who started the inning with a single and advanced to second on a single by Tkowski. Junior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) continued the team's hit-streak in the next at-bat, singling to right field to bring around Tkowski for his first RBI of the season. Four more runs came across for Holy Cross in the inning as Laurendeau tallied the team's fifth hit, notching a two-run single. Oxford and Ciardiello followed with back-to-back doubles, each collecting one RBI to make it a 12-2 game.
The team's offense did not stop in the eighth inning, as Maldonado, senior Brendan McCrea (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Oxford all tallied consecutive RBI hits with two outs. Puentes, freshman Ryan Doerhoff (Flower Mound, Texas), Maldonado and McCrea scored the four runs, with Puentes and Doerhoff touching home after reaching base on back-to-back walks. The Holy Cross pitching staff allowed one last run in the bottom of the ninth, allowing just three additional hits in both the eighth and ninth innings. With the final St. Joseph's run, the Crusaders won out by a 16-3 score.
Croglio tallied the winning decision, improving to 1-1 on the season after pitching five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out four. Kono pitched two strong innings in relief, striking out three of the nine batters he faced and giving up one hit. St. Joseph's A.J. Holland picked up the loss, dropping to 0-1 on the season after allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out two. In all, Holy Cross scored 16 runs on 18 hits and making one error while the Hawks collected three runs on 10 hits, committing two errors.
Holy Cross wraps up action in Wilmington, N.C. this afternoon with a match-up against host North-Carolina Wilmington. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. at Brooks Field.