ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) put together a team-high five hits, three runs and two RBI as the Holy Cross baseball team swept Navy in the first doubleheader of the weekend at Max Bishop Stadium. Holy Cross won the first game, 8-4 and then earned a 6-3 win in game two. With the decisions, the squad moves to 20-15 (7-3 Patriot League) while the Midshipmen go to 14-21 (2-8 PL). The Crusaders pitching staff tallied two wins and one save on the day as freshman Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) tallied his first career save in game two.
Junior Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) put Holy Cross' first run on the board, tallying a RBI single to score junior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the top of the first. Navy came back to score three runs off junior starter Tom Marra (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) singled and then scored on a double play ball in the top of the second to pull Holy Cross within one run, 3-2.
Five Crusader runs came across in the top of the third as Ahmed sent home two runs on a RBI single. Junior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) added a RBI single to score Ahmed while a Navy defensive miscue allowed two more runs to score in the inning. Holy Cross collected five hits in the outing and jumped ahead, 7-3.
Marra held the Mids scoreless from the bottom of the second until the bottom of the fourth, facing just 10 batters in the three innings. In the fifth, Navy put together a double and then a RBI groundout to make it 7-4. The Mids threatened to score again in the bottom of the sixth, but Marra came up with two big strikeouts to hold the runner. Cipolla finished the scoring on the day for either team in the top of the seventh, leading off with a single and then coming around for the run on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.). Marra pitched a three-up, three-down bottom of the seventh to secure his third complete game of the season as the Crusaders finished ahead, 8-4.
Marra pitched the full seven innings for his fourth win of the season, improving to 4-2 overall. He allowed four runs on six hits overall and struck out a season-best five batters. Navy's starter, Ben Nelson, picked up the losing decision, dropping to 1-3 overall on the season. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits and struck out six. In all, Holy Cross scored 8 runs on 13 hits while the Mids scored four runs on six hits and committed two errors.
Holy Cross got on the board quickly in the top of the first as Puentes and senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) tallied RBI singles to boost the Crusaders to a 2-0 lead. Puentes came up big again in the top of the third with another RBI single, scoring Ahmed. Junior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) put the Crusaders up 6-0 in the same inning after notching a three-run triple, his first three-bagger of the season. Senior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) held the Mids scoreless until the bottom of the third as a sacrifice fly made it 6-1.
Two more runs came across for the host Navy, one in the bottom of the fourth off a solo home run and again in the bottom of the fifth as the score read 6-3 after five whole innings. Holy Cross scattered two hits in the top half of the fifth and sixth innings but did not score as Puentes tacked on his third hit of the day, a ground rule double. Freshman Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) relieved Croglio in the seventh with the Crusaders still up 6-3. Murray finished the game with three hitless innings of work, keeping Navy from scoring again to tally his first career save. He struck out four batters in the outing, including three straight in the bottom of the ninth. With the strong performance, the Crusaders were able to complete the sweep on the day by the final 6-3 tally.
Croglio earned the winning decision, improving to 3-3 on the season. He threw six full innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits while striking out four batters. Navy's starter, Johnny Schoberl, picked up the loss and drops to 4-3 overall on the season. He pitched 6.2 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits and struck out four. In all, Holy Cross scored six runs on 10 hits, committing one error while the Mids scored three runs on seven hits.
The Crusaders wrap up the weekend series with Navy tomorrow, April 15. Doubleheader action begins at 12:00 p.m. at Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis, Md.