WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Jack Laurendeau (Sudbury, Mass.) tallied his first game-winning hit of the year as the Holy Cross baseball team won in the bottom of the ninth, 6-5, over Albany at Fitton Field. With the result, the Crusaders improve to a record of 7-7, winning their fifth straight, while the Great Danes dip to 4-11 on the season. Laurendeau went two-for-three at the plate on the day, scoring two runs and knocking in the final run.
Albany notched the first run of the game, scoring in a double play run down to go ahead 1-0 early. Holy Cross came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third without getting one hit, scoring on a walk and wild pitch. Laurendeau and senior Eric Oxford (Danvers, Mass.) tallied the runs. The Great Danes tied the score 2-2 in the top of the fifth, scoring on an error by Crusader second baseman Kyle Stearns (Orland Park, Ill.).
Holy Cross took back a 3-2 edge in the bottom of the fifth as senior Nick Ciardiello (Edison, N.J.) extended his hit streak to 10 games, doubling to bring around Laurendeau who led off with a single. Albany scored three times in the top of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead, tagging sophomore reliever Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.) for two hits, one which scored, and also capitalizing on another Crusaders error for the two other runs.
Freshman Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) went deep for the first time in his career to bring the Crusaders back within one run, 5-4, in the bottom half of the sixth while the Crusaders left sophomore Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) stranded at second to end the inning. Ciardiello then tied the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the seventh, knocking in Oxford on a single and collecting his second RBI of the day.
Sophomores John Colella (Herndon, Va.) and Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.) came in to the game as the team's third and fourth pitchers. Combined, the two retired five of the last eight batters they faced, striking out three to prevent the Danes from scoring again. With the score still at 5-5, Maldonado led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and then advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch. In grand fashion, Laurendeau then hit a ball down the left field line to score Maldonado for the game-winning run, giving Holy Cross the final 6-5 victory.
Colella collected the winning decision, improving to 1-1 on the year after pitching the last 1.1 innings, striking out two. Junior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) finished with the no decision, allowing just two runs to score on two hits in five innings pitched. Albany's Kevin Gowan picked up the loss in the ninth, falling to 0-1 on the season. In all, Holy Cross scored six runs on nine hits and made two errors while the Great Danes scored five runs on six hits, making one error. Ciardiello tallied a team-high two RBI, going two-for-two at the plate with two walks as well.
Holy Cross matches up with St. John's for the final game of the weekend series, hosting the Red Storm at Fitton Field tomorrow, March 20, at 1:00 p.m.