The Holy Cross Baseball team put a stop to a three-game skid with a sweep of Lafayette last weekend at Kamine Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania. The Crusaders (15-16 overall, 9-7 in Patriot League play) took both games of Saturday’s doubleheader and secured the sweep on Sunday to jump to third place in the conference standings with just a few more series left until postseason play. The host Leopards (13-28, 2-15) remain in last place in the Patriot League after the three-game sweep.
Holy Cross squeaked out a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Lafayette in game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Leopards opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo home run off the bat of senior catcher AJ Kloehn. The Crusaders put a runner on base in each of the first two innings but were otherwise neutralized by Lafayette sophomore starting pitcher Brett Kreyer through the first five frames. Holy Cross broke through in the sixth when sophomores Chris Rinaldi and Austin Masel hit consecutive singles to put two runners on base with one out. Senior Cam O’Neill then reached base on a Lafayette error to load the bases for Holy Cross. Pinch hitting with two outs, sophomore Colton Hector drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a single to left field to put the Crusaders up 2-1. In the bottom of the sixth, Holy Cross junior Danny Barlok relieved junior starter Pat McGowan with runners on first and second and two outs. After walking a Leopard to load the bases, Barlok struck out Lafayette junior Richard Villa to end the threat. Barlok came back out for the seventh and retired the side in order to earn a four-out save and a series-opening 2-1 victory for the Crusaders. McGowan earned his second win of the season with 5.2 innings of one-run ball, while Kreyer was credited with the loss for Lafayette.
Game 2 of the Saturday doubleheader saw bats come to life as Holy Cross earned a 6-4 win over Lafayette. Again, the Crusaders had to play from behind as they allowed a run to score in each of the first two innings. Freshman starting pitcher Liam Dvorak of Holy Cross gave up a single and a walk to start the first inning. Lafayette brought in the first run of the game the next at-bat with an RBI single from senior Luke Robinson. Robinson then stole second to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. However, Dvorak recovered well, coaxing two strikeouts and a groundout to retire the side in the first. In the second, a double off the bat of sophomore Trey Durrah put the Leopards up 2-0. Another Lafayette baserunner attempted to score but was thrown out at home plate to end the inning, saving a run. Holy Cross began to chip away at the lead in the next half-inning. Sophomore Jared Enders singled, his first of three hits on the day, and was driven in by a double from freshman Cam Meyer to bring the score to 2-1. After threatening in the fifth, Holy Cross exploded in the sixth inning for four runs. With one out, O’Neill hit his fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot that plated Rinaldi and put the Crusaders ahead. Later in the inning, sophomores Riley Livingston and Alex Volpi scored on a Lafayette error to extend the lead to 5-2. The Leopards fought back in the seventh, as a two-run home run from Durrah off of sophomore reliever Zane Hadeya closed the gap to one run. Holy Cross added an insurance run in the eighth, when Enders singled for his third hit of the game and later scored on an error. Barlok entered in the eighth and recorded a six-out save, striking out Durrah to end the game and put the exclamation point on a great day for the junior closer and his team. Dvorak earned his third win of the season while senior John Cain suffered his sixth loss of the year for Lafayette.
The Crusaders completed the series sweep of the Leopards Sunday the same way they won the first two games: rallying from behind. Lafayette came out of the gates swinging, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first off of Holy Cross junior starting pitcher Declan Cronin. Durrah continued his strong series with an RBI single, and later scored on a two-run Patrick Nelson double. Junior infielder Spencer Rouse drove in Nelson with a single for the fourth run of the inning. However, as they made a habit of in this series, the Crusaders responded in the next frame with three runs of their own. A pair of RBI doubles from senior Thomas Russo and Enders, continuing his hot streak, brought in the first two runs. Rinaldi added an RBI on a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 4-3. The Crusaders took a 5-4 lead in the fourth when Meyer and Rinaldi each scored on Lafayette errors. In the bottom half of the frame, the Leopards tied the game thanks to a Quentin Bubb RBI single. O’Neill’s fifth home run of the season and second of the series put the Crusaders ahead for good in the top of the sixth. Holy Cross added an insurance run in the seventh when Enders doubled and later scored on a Meyer sacrifice fly. After Durrah hit a solo shot off of Cronin to open the eighth, Hadeya came in for a six-out save. A combination of walks and errors loaded the bases for the Leopards, but Hadeya escaped unscathed after coaxing an inning-ending flyout. Two Leopards reached base in the bottom of the ninth, only to be stranded as Hadeya struck out the last two batters to end the game and earn his first save of the season. Cronin, despite allowing six runs (five of them earned), got his third win of the season. Junior David Giusta was credited with the loss for Lafayette.