ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Holy Cross baseball team combined for 17 runs on 17 hits and split two games with Navy to wrap up the weekend's action at Max Bishop Stadium. Holy Cross lost the first game, 8-2, and then broke out offensively in game two, winning 15-3. With the decisions, the squad moves to 21-16 (8-4 Patriot League) while the Midshipmen go to 15-22 (3-9 PL). Junior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) drove in a team-high four runs on the day, coming up with two big hits at the plate.
After Navy scored the first run of the game in the bottom half of the first, Holy Cross pulled ahead 2-1 in the top of the second, capitalizing on two Navy errors and earning one hit. Sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) and senior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) scored the runs for the Crusaders as they reached base on a respective single and walk. Sophomore Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) tallied the lone RBI in the inning, reaching on an error and then advancing to second to allow both Tkowski and Cipolla to score. The Mids answered back with three runs in the bottom half of the second to regain a 4-2 edge, stringing together three hits off of junior starter Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.), including a two-run double.
Junior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) provided Holy Cross' lone piece of offense from the third through fifth innings, singling in the top of the fifth. Navy added one run in the bottom half of the fifth to make it a 5-2 game and then added a three-run, three-hit sixth inning to pull away by an 8-2 tally. The Crusaders could not find another offensive spark in the top half of the seventh, putting one man on base but not scoring to finish down by the 8-2 final.
Kono pitched a total of three innings in the game and finished with the losing decision to drop to 2-1 overall. He allowed four runs on five hits, walked three and struck out one. Navy's starter, Preston Gainey, earned the winning decision to improve to 2-2 on the season. He allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out five in 4.1 innings of work. In all, Holy Cross scored two runs on three hits while the Mids scored eight runs on nine hits and made two errors in the seven innings.
Senior lefty Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) started for the Crusaders in game two and struck out three batters over the first two innings. Holy Cross broke the scoreless contest in the top half of the third, scoring four times on two hits to move ahead 4-0. Wadsworth and junior Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) collected the hits as Maldonado singled up the middle to score the first run and was followed by a two-run double from Wadsworth.
Koneski kept the Mids scoreless in the third and fourth innings before the Holy Cross offense exploded for seven runs on seven hits in the top of the fifth to break out for an 11-0 lead. Wadsworth continued his hot day at the plate, notching a two-run single before Tkowski added a two-run home run in the following at-bat. Barry and freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) kept up the momentum, tallying back-to-back singles before sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) doubled to score the final run. Navy pieced together two runs in the bottom half of the inning, tagging a two-run double off of Koneski to make it an 11-2 game.
The Crusaders were back at it offensively in the top of the sixth, stringing together three runs on two hits, including a RBI single by Tkowski. A final RBI groundout by Barry ended the inning as Holy Cross pulled back out by a 14-2 lead. Koneski left the game in the top of the seventh in line for the win and was replaced by junior John Colella (Herndon, Va.). Colella struck out one batter in two innings of work as Navy went down in order in both the seventh and eighth innings. A RBI groundout by Maldonado in the top of the ninth finished the Crusaders' scoring on the day while Navy knocked out a solo home run off Ahmed, who entered the game in the top of the ninth. The Mids did not score again as Holy Cross finished ahead, 15-3.
Koneski tallied his fourth win of the season after the six-inning outing, improving to 4-2 overall. He allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five Mids. Navy's starter, Anthony Parenti, picked up the losing decision, dropping to 2-2 overall. He pitched three full innings, allowing four runs on three hits, walked two and struck out one. In all, Holy Cross scored 15 runs on 14 hits while the Mids scored three runs on nine hits, committing one error.
The Crusaders travel to Ivy League opponent Brown next for a mid-week double header on Wednesday, April 18. First pitch of game one is set for 2:30 p.m. at Murray Stadium in Providence, R.I.