EASTON, Pa. – Holy Cross senior outfielder Patrick Puentes (East Greenbush, N.Y.) combined to go 7-for-8 with five runs scored, nine RBIs and a trio of home runs as the Crusaders defeated Lafayette in Patriot League baseball action on Sunday afternoon at Kamine Stadium. Holy Cross won the first game, 11-5, and claimed the convincing 23-4 victory in game two. Puentes also hit for the cycle in the second game with a single, double, triple and home run for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross improves to 14-16 overall and 6-2 in the Patriot League, while the Leopards slip to 6-24 on the season and 3-4 in the conference. Holy Cross starting pitchers, sophomore Donny Murray (Walpole, Mass.) and senior Chris Kono (Greenwich, Conn.), both picked up wins on the bump for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross grabbed the lead right away in the top of the first inning as sophomore outfielder Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) hit a leadoff home run to centerfield. During the top of the second frame, the Crusaders pushed across three runs to make the score 4-0. Freshman infielder Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) got the offense going with an RBI-double to center field, which plated senior first baseman Jordan Enos (Stockton, Calif.). Two batters later, junior second baseman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) ripped a single through the left side to score both Lovullo and senior shortstop Alex Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) The Crusaders added another run in the top of the third inning, as Enos hit his first home run of the season to give Holy Cross the 5-0 advantage.
Lafayette rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning, as it scored a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 5-,2 but Holy Cross was able to put the game away in the top half of the fifth inning. After Enos and senior catcher Stephen Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.) were both hit by a pitch, Puentes crushed a three-run homer run, his first of the day, over the right field fence to make the score 8-2. Lovullo scored later in the inning on a wild pitch, before Barry drove in a pair of runs on a double to left center, which gave the Crusaders the 11-2 lead.
The Leopards tried to mount a rally in the sixth inning, as they scored three runs, but they could not get any closer as the Crusaders would go on to win the first game of the doubleheader, 11-5.
Murray picked up the win on the bump for the Crusaders (3-2) as he tossed five innings and allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits. He struck out and walked five batters apiece. Lafayette pitcher Connor Ortolf was charged with the loss (0-4) as he surrendered five earned runs and six hits over 3.1 innings pitched.
Barry and Puentes each had multiple hits for the Crusaders as Enos scored a trio of runs. Holy Cross outhit Lafayette by a slim 8-7 margin.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Holy Cross again gained the early lead in the top of the first inning as Puentes drove in Barry on an RBI-double to break open the scoring. Lafayette was able to grab its first lead of the day in the bottom of the second frame, as the Leopards rattled of three runs to go on top 3-1. Holy Cross, however, scored a trio of runs in the top of the third inning and never looked back. In the third, Ocello scored the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Barry. During the next at-bat, Puentes hit his second homer of the day to knot the score at 3-3. Later in the frame, Wadsworth singled up the middle to plate junior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) and give the Crusaders the 4-3 lead.
Maldonado scored a run for Holy Cross in the fourth inning as the Crusaders added four more in the top of the fifth. Enos scored the first run of the fifth inning on an RBI-single to center field to score Puentes. Junior infielder Mike Ahmed (East Longmeadow, Mass.) then hit a double down the left-field line to plate both Enos and Wadsworth and make the score 7-3. Ahmed scored the final run of the fifth on a throwing error by Lafayette to increase the lead to 8-3.
Holy Cross added three runs in the top of the sixth inning as Puentes contributed with a two-run home run, his third of the day, to put the Crusaders ahead 11-3. Holy Cross' offense exploded in the seventh inning as it pushed seven runs across the plate to go on top, 18-3. Puentes hit for the cycle with a two-RBI triple in the inning as Lovullo crushed a three-run homer, his first career long ball, during the frame. Ocello also contributed in the inning with an RBI-double to center field.
The Crusaders were not done yet as they scored two runs in the eighth inning to increase the lead to 20-3. Enos and Lovullo both had RBIs in the inning. Lafayette did strike for one run in the bottom half of the eighth, to make the score 20-4, but Holy Cross tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth to claim the 22-4 victory. During the ninth inning, Ocello and sophomore Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.) each hit solo home runs as St. Clair's was his first collegiate homer.
Kono earned the victory on the mound for Holy Cross (3-0) as he pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs and three hits. He fanned a trio of batters and walked only two. Lafayette starting pitcher Alex Farina was charged with the loss (0-6) as he allowed four earned runs and six hits over 2.1 innings pitched. The Crusaders bullpen of seniors George Perrotta (Eastchester, N.Y.) and John Colella (Herndon, Va.) combined to throw three innings as they allowed one earned run and four hits.
Every starter for Holy Cross had at least two hits in the game as Puentes (5-for-5), Enos (5-for-6), Ocello (3-for-6), Maldonado (3-for-6) and Lovullo (3-for-5) each had three or more hits. Puentes also had four runs scored and six RBIs in the contest as he now has six home runs this season, which places him in a tie for 10th in the Holy Cross single-season record book. The Crusaders had 30 total hits in the game, including 15 extra-base hits, compared to seven for the Leopards.
Overall for the doubleheader, the Crusaders combined for 38 hits, 34 runs, 10 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. In addition, Holy Cross did not commit any errors on the afternoon.
The Crusaders return to action on Tuesday, April 9, when they will travel to Central Connecticut for a 3:00 p.m. contest.