Baseball Splits With Army In Regular Season Finale

Mike Ahmed

WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Nate Koneski (North Dighton, Mass.) pitched a two-hit seven-inning shutout in game one to help the Holy Cross baseball team split the final series with first-place Army at Fitton Field. The Crusaders won game one, 5-0, and then fell in game two, 4-3. With the decisions, the squad moves to 29-20 (13-7 PL) while the Black Knights go to 35-12 (18-2 PL). Sophomore Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) boosted the squad offensively on the day, going 4-for-8 at the plate with three RBI.

Game One

The teams played three scoreless innings, combining for four hits as Koneski struck out three Black Knights. Sophomore Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) broke the 0-0 tie in the top of the fourth, knocking out a three-run home run to center to put the Crusaders up 3-0. Senior Steve Tkowski (Bourne, Mass.) and junior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) scored on the play. Koneski allowed just one more hit over the fifth and sixth innings and added one strikeout before a two-run double from Ahmed made it a 5-0 game in the bottom of the sixth. Three Crusaders notched hits in the inning as freshman Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) and sophomore Kyle Stearns (Orland Park, Ill.) earned singles and scored the runs. Koneski faced four Black Knights in the bottom of the seventh, walking one and striking out the second to last batter he saw before Army grounded out to end the game. With the final out, Holy Cross won by the 5-0 tally.   

Koneski pitched the seven strong innings and earned the win, improving to 6-2 overall. He shutout the Black Knights, allowing just two hits and struck out six. Army's starter, Logan Lee, pitched six full innings and took the loss, dropping to 5-2. He allowed five runs on 12 hits and struck out six. In all, Holy Cross scored five runs on 12 hits while the Black Knights made one error and tallied two hits.

Game Two

Holy Cross went up 2-0 early in the bottom of the first as senior Chris Sintetos (Bethesda, Md.) and Tkowski picked up RBI. Army tied it up, 2-2, in the top of the second scoring the two runs on a wild pitch and throwing error. Senior starter Matt Croglio (Fayetteville, N.Y.) settled down in the third and fourth innings, earning two strikeouts and giving up two hits as the Crusaders and Black Knights remained in the 2-2 tie until the top of the fifth. Army went ahead, 3-2, in the outing, scoring the run on a fielding error.

The Holy Cross offense remained quiet through the seventh inning, leaving four runners stranded as Army added one run in the top of the eighth to pull ahead, 4-2. Ahmed put together the squad's final piece of offense in the bottom of the ninth inning after junior reliever Andrew Boyce (Avon, Conn.) got the Black Knights down in order in the top half of the inning. Ahmed provided the offense, sending his seventh home run of the season out to left field, making it a 4-3 game. Holy Cross earned one more base runner but did not capitalize, finishing the game down by the final 4-3 score.

Croglio finished with the losing decision, dropping to 4-3 on the season. He threw four full innings, allowing one run on two hits and struck out four. Army's starter, Nick Dignacco, tallied the win and goes to 6-2 overall. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits. Army's reliever, Gunnar Carroll, picked up the save in the affair, his fifth on the season. In all, Holy Cross scored three runs on 10 hits, committing three errors while the Black Knights scored four runs on four hits, also committing three errors.

The Crusaders have now completed the 2012 regular season. The team has earned the No. 2 seed and will host the first round of the Patriot League tournament from May 12-13. The time of the games and the opponent will be determined at a later date.