Baseball wins close series against Holy Cross
The No. 21 ranked men’s baseball team took down the Holy Cross Crusaders 2-1 in its opening series of the season, including an extra-inning walk-off victory on Sunday.
“We knew that we were going to have some tough games, starting with the first pitch,” said head coach Todd Whitting. “This is a team you absolutely expect to see in the NCAA tournament this year, so to get two wins was encouraging.”
The Cougars’ first game of the series ended on a sour note Friday, losing 3-2 after giving up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. The Cougars struggled to get their bats going. As a team they combined for only six hits while striking out 11 times.
Junior Trey Cumbie started pitching for the Cougars and gave up a hit and a home run, which allowed the Crusaders to get up 2-0 in the first inning.
After that he settled down and recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts and only allowed one walk in five and one-third innings.
The Cougars scored runs in the first and fourth innings to tie the game, but a pair of Crusader hits in the eighth inning allowed them to take the lead for good.
In the second game Saturday, the Cougars bounced back to defeat the Crusaders 7-1.
While the game remained close in the early going, the Cougars blew it open in the sixth inning, scoring five runs on four hits. On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore utility player Lael Lockhart Jr. led the way with two RBIs, but the real story was the shut-down performance by the pitchers.
Junior Aaron Fletcher started the game and went five innings, striking out six and only walking one batter. He was relieved to start the sixth by sophomore Tyler Bielamowicz, who added four strikeouts to the tally over a two-inning stretch.
Sophomore Carter Henry came in over the final two innings to close things out, and he did not give up a single hit in his time on the mound.
The biggest stat of note is the pitching staff combined to give up zero earned runs. Holy Cross’ only run came on an error when Bielamowicz threw a wild pitch.
To close out the weekend, the Cougars had to go into extra innings to earn their final victory against the Crusaders.
Junior Ryan Randel started on the mound for the Cougars. In five and two-thirds innings pitched, he recorded eight strikeouts while allowing two earned runs. Randel threw 78 pitches with 54 registering as strikes.
The Cougars did struggle to bring runners home, as they left the bases loaded to end the inning on three separate occasions.
Senior Cooper Coldiron showed his dexterity at the plate, smashing his first career home run over the left field wall in the eighth inning before delivering the winning hit on a walk-off single up the left side.
“This was a good weekend for us,” Coldiron said. “But I was only able to win it because our pitching was lights out, and I was impressed with our performance as a team.”
The Cougars are back in action Tuesday when they travel to Huntsville to take on Sam Houston State. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.