April 1, 2012

Bats Come Alive As Baseball Sweeps Series Finale At Bucknell

LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Holy Cross baseball team found its offensive groove, combining for 26 hits, including six extra-base hits to highlight the doubleheader sweep against Bucknell at Depew Field. Holy Cross won game one 5-1 and then took game two 11-7. With the decisions, the squad moves to 14-11 (3-1 Patriot League) while the Bison go to 13-14 (1-3 PL). Senior lefty Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) boosted the team to its game one win, holding the Bison to just one run in a full seven-inning performance, his first complete game of the season.  

Game One

Holy Cross loaded the bases and scored twice in the top of the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) sent junior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) home on a RBI single while sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) also came around on an error by Bucknell's leftfielder, who couldn't make a clean play on Ocello's hit. Cipolla then highlighted the offense in the top of the third, connecting for a two-run double to score juniors Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) and Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) as the Crusaders went ahead 4-0.

Koneski shined from the mound, allowing just one hit through his first three innings of work. Sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) posted his first triple of the season in the top of the fourth and scored the inning's lone run on a RBI single by junior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to make it a 5-0 game. Bucknell scored once in the bottom half of the fourth, collecting three hits off Koneski to pull within four runs, 5-1. Koneski finished strong for the final two innings, posting three strikeouts and faced just nine additional Bison as Holy Cross came away with the 5-1 win.

Koneski pitched his first complete game of the season and earned the win to improve to 2-2. He pitched a full seven innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out six. Bucknell's starter, Ryan Ebner, lasted 1.1 innings and took the loss, dropping to 2-4 on the season. In all, Holy Cross scored five runs on eight hits, including two by Enos, while the Bison scored one run on five hits and committed one error.

Game Two

Holy Cross batted through the order, combining for six hits in the top of the first to jump ahead 4-0. A bases clearing, two-run double by Enos started things off as senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) and Cipolla also added RBI singles. Sintetos came up big again in the top half of the third, collecting his own bases clearing double, scoring Puentes and Maldonado on the play as the Crusaders went ahead 6-0. Bucknell got back two runs in the bottom of the third, tallying a two-run double off junior starter Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.).

Junior Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn) replaced Kono on the mound in the bottom of the fourth with Bucknell threatening to score. The Bison came away with one run in the inning, pulling within three runs, 6-3, after scoring on a bases loaded walk. The Crusaders rallied right back for three runs in the top of the fifth with Puentes notching the team's third two-run double of the game, scoring Ocello and Ahmed. Enos finished the scoring affair with a RBI single, his third of the day, to bring home Puentes. Bucknell put together a three-run inning of its own in the bottom half of the fifth, tallying three hits as Holy Cross remained ahead 9-6.

The Crusaders went to junior John Colella (Herndon, Va.) for the final two outs of the fifth and kept him in for the rest of the game as both teams went scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings. Holy Cross capitalized on two errors made by the Bison in the eighth, scoring two unearned runs on a throwing error by the Bucknell shortstop to regain an 11-6 advantage. Colella picked up one strikeout and faced just three batters in the eighth before allowing one run in the ninth. The Bison loaded the bases with two outs but did not score again as Holy Cross finished with the 11-7 victory.

Boyce tallied the winning decision on the day, improving to 1-0 on the season. He threw one inning, allowing three runs on four hits and struck out one. Bucknell's starter, Dan Goldstein, picked up the loss, dropping to 0-2 on the year as he lasted just 0.1 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits, including two doubles. Colella earned his sixth save on the season, throwing a season-high 4.2 innings. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out three. In all, Holy Cross scored 11 runs on 18 hits, committing one error while the Bison scored seven runs on 14 hits, committing three errors.

The Crusaders return to action on Tuesday, April 3 when they host Hartford at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m.