QUEENS, N.Y. – Holy Cross freshman Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) batted .500 with four hits, one run and a pair of RBIs as the Crusaders lost a twin bill to St. John's on Saturday and Sunday in non-conference baseball action at Kaiser Stadium. The contest on Saturday was halted due to snow and resumed on Sunday as the Crusaders were bested 8-3 in the first game and were defeated, 12-8, in the nightcap. With the pair of losses, Holy Cross drops to 2-13 on the season as the Red Storm improve to 5-11 overall.
Holy Cross stuck first in the series opener with a sacrifice fly by senior Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) to score sophomore Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) to give the Crusaders the early 1-0 lead. St. John's answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning by Frank Schwindel and Sean O'Hare to go on top 2-1. Holy Cross was able to grab the 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning as Puentes launched a two-run home run to score freshman Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.). The blast was his second of the season. After the third inning, the game was halted due to poor visibility from the snow.
Upon resumption of play on Sunday, St. John's was able to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth frame. With one out and a runner on base, the Red Storm would score three runs on three consecutive extra-base hits to gain the 5-3 edge. After two-and-a-half innings of scoreless baseball, St. John's added a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 8-3. Schwindel hit an RBI-single to score Bret Dennis and Zach Lauricella hit a two-RBI base knock to plate O'Hare and Schwindel. After the snow delay, Holy Cross was only able to muster one hit in the remainder of the game as St. John's went on to win 8-3.
Red Storm pitcher Ryan Horstman was credited with the win (3-2) as he pitched 5.1 innings after the snow delay and only surrendered one hit as he fanned six batters. Holy Cross sophomore Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) was charged with the loss (1-2) as he went 4.2 innings upon the resumption of play. Murray allowed six runs (five earned) and eight hits, while he struck out two batters.
St. John's held the 14-4 advantage in the hitting department as the Red Storm also left 12 runners on base, compared to one for Holy Cross. Puentes went 1-for-2 with one run scored and three RBIs in the contest for the Crusaders.
In the nightcap, Holy Cross again scored the first run of the contest on an RBI-single by Lovullo, which scored Puentes to give the Crusaders the 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. St. John's, however, pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the bottom of the frame to gain the 2-1 advantage. Holy Cross knotted the score at 2-2 in the top of the third on an RBI-single by senior Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) to plate junior Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.). The Red Storm countered with three runs in the bottom of the third on a bases-clearing double by Lauricella to give St. John's the 5-2 lead.
Holy Cross scored once in the top of the fourth on an RBI-single by Ocello, but St. John's responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to go on top, 7-3. The Crusaders were able to put up a crooked number in the fifth inning. After a double by Wadsworth to lead off the inning and a hit by pitch by Puentes, senior Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.) scored Wadsworth on an RBI-single. Puentes then stole third base and Lovullo plated him on a single to the shortstop, which cut the deficit to 7-5. Two batters later, Ocello reached on a fielder's choice to score Enos as Lovullo also crossed home on an error by the first baseman to knot the score at 7-7.
The Red Storm scored one run in the sixth and seventh inning to grab the 9-7 advantage, but the Crusaders added a run in the top of the eighth on a hit by pitch by Enos to cut the margin to 9-8. St. John's, however, put the contest away in the bottom of the eighth with a trio of one-out singles to push the lead to 12-8. Holy Cross would go down in order during the ninth inning as the Red Storm would claim the victory.
St. John's pitcher Ryan McCormick picked up the win (2-2), as he pitched 3.2 innings of relief and allowed one earned run and a pair of hits. Red Storm pitcher Thomas Hackimer earned his third save of the year with 1.1 no-hit innings. Holy Cross senior pitcher John Colella (Herndon, Va.) was charged with the loss (0-3) as he surrendered two runs (one earned) and six hits over 3.2 innings pitched.
Both teams combined for 25 hits as the Red Storm held the slim 13-12 advantage. Holy Cross junior Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) and Lovullo all had three hits in the contest, while Ocello and Wadsworth had a pair of hits each for Holy Cross.
The Crusaders will return to action on Tuesday, March 19 as they will host Boston College in the home opener at Fitton Field with the first pitch at 5:00 p.m.