WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross freshman first baseman Bill Schlich (Massapequa, N.Y.) combined to go 2-for-5 with one run, a double and three RBIs, while first-year third baseman Anthony Critelli (Holmdel, N.J.) batted 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of runs scored, to help lead the Crusaders to a doubleheader split with Lafayette in Patriot League baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field. The Leopards won the first contest, 3-2, while the Crusaders claimed the 6-5 victory in game two. Holy Cross advances its record to 7-14 on the season and 1-1 in the conference, while Lafayette is now 7-11 overall and 1-1 in the league.
Game 1: Lafayette 3, Holy Cross 2
The two teams were held scoreless over the first three innings, as they each had one hit apiece, before Lafayette broke the stalemate in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs, Tim Lazor blasted his first home run of the season over the left field fence to give the Leopards the 1-0 lead. Holy Cross countered in the bottom half of the fourth with a sacrifice fly-out by senior second baseman Andrew Barry (Puyallup, Wash.) to score Critelli and tie the game at 1-1.
The Crusaders gained the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, as sophomore catcher Connor Perry (Haverhill, Mass.) brought in junior designated hitter Jack St. Clair (Newton, Mass.) on a sacrifice fly. Lafayette, however, put together a rally in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Rob Caliento hit a single up the middle to plate Brett Thompson and knot the game at 2-2. During the next at bat, Matt Lawrence crossed home on a Crusader fielding error to give the Leopards the 3-2 lead. Holy Cross was set down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Lafayette would hang on for the 3-2 victory.
Leopards starting pitcher Connor Ortolf (2-3) pitched a seven-inning complete game, as he allowed two runs on three hits, while fanning six batters and walking four. Holy Cross freshman starter Ben White (Holden, Mass.) pitched well for the Crusaders, but was charged with the loss (0-2). He tossed 6.1 innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits, while striking out a career-high 10 batters.
No batter for either team had multiple hits, as the Leopards held the 5-3 edge in the hitting department.
Game 2: Holy Cross 6, Lafayette 5
After a scoreless first inning, the Crusaders opened the game's scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Perry scored the first run of the contest on a groundout by sophomore outfielder Bobby Indeglia (North Kingstown, R.I.). Two batters later, Holy Cross sophomore shortstop Nick Lovullo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) drove in Schlich on an RBI-single to give the Crusaders the 2-0 lead.
Lafayette cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the third inning, but Holy Cross responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth, on an RBI-single by Lovullo to plate junior outfielder Evan Ocello (Camarillo, Calif.) and make the score 3-1. The Leopards would tie the score in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs, as Andrew Santomauro hit a solo home run to begin the rally. Holy Cross grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Schlich brought home both Critelli and senior outfielder Brandon Cipolla (Abington, Mass.) on a two-RBI double to make the score 5-3.
The Leopards, however, scored one run in the sixth inning and one in the seventh inning to tie the game at 5-5. The Crusaders broke the stalemate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Critelli led off the frame with a double and was pinch run for by freshman Quinn Moynihan (Worcester, Mass.) Two batters later, Schlich singled through the right side to plate Moynihan and give the Crusaders the 6-5 lead. Escobar came on to pitch the top of the ninth and recorded his second save of the season to help Holy Cross earn the 6-5 triumph.
Holy Cross sophomore relief pitcher Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) picked up the win (1-0), as he tossed a scoreless eighth inning for the Crusaders. Lafayette reliever Cory Spera was charged with the loss (2-1), as he surrendered the game-winning run in three innings pitched. Holy Cross freshman starting pitcher Phil Reese (Frederick, Md.) pitched five innings in the no-decision effort and allowed three runs on five hits, while fanning five batters.
In game two, Schlich and Critelli each batted 2-for-3 with one run, as Schlich drove in three RBIs. Lovullo batted 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for the Crusaders, who led 8-6 in total hits.
The two teams will conclude their four-game series on Sunday, March 30, with a pair of games set to begin at 1:00 p.m.