GEORGETOWN, Texas – Lance Kruse hit a go-ahead, RBI-triple with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the Southwestern University Pirates baseball held on in the top of the ninth to escape with a 7-5 victory over the DeSales Bulldogs.
Southwestern lived dangerously all night, giving DeSales seven opportunities with bases loaded and holding the Bulldogs to 0-for-7 hitting in those situations.
The Pirates' pitching staff did an excellent job of getting out of trouble all night, holding the Bulldogs to 0-for-8 hitting with two outs. Of course, the problem with doing a great job of getting out of trouble is you first have to get into it.
DeSales hit 7-for-9 in leadoff opportunities and drew 11 walks, leaving 14 runners stranded.
First year Hutch Hornfischer got the start on the mound for the Pirates, giving up a leadoff single to Thomas Carpenter and walking Sergio Diaz. With runners on the corners, the Pirates ended the inning with Hornfischer striking out Matt White and catcher Daniel Montgomery Jr. catching Diaw attempting to steal second on the same play.
For Southwestern, changes to the batting order paid immediate dividends with Lance Kruse moving up to the No. 2 spot and hitting to a double to left center and Seth Sparks following with an RBI-single up the middle to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
The duo combined to hit 5-for-10 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
Hornfischer lost control in the top of the second, walking the first two hitters and advancing them to second and third on a wild pitch. After throwing his third wild pitch of the inning, he was replaced by John Sparks, who walked two more to score one run before getting out of the inning with a strikeout and induced groundout to third.
DeSales' starting pitcher Ian Kacergis did blue collar work for the Bulldogs, holding Southwestern scoreless in the second, third, and fourth innings before fading in the fifth with an earned run; striking out three with seven hits allowed in 4.2 innings.
Sparks surrendered three consecutive singles to start the third but pulled himself out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out to right field.
After Sparks walked back-to-back DeSales players to open the fourth, the Pirates turned an unusual 2-5-3 double play when Cody Mish hit a grounder straight down into the dirt and the entire Bulldogs team froze, thinking it was fouled off the plate. Diaz followed with a pop out to Sparks at second base.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hayden Craig hit a one-out triple off the top of the wall in left field and Sparks followed with a two-out RBI up the middle to give the Pirates a brief 2-1 lead, ending Kacergis' night in favor of JJ Paul.
Sparks walked the leadoff hitter in the sixth and then made a throwing error on a failed pickoff move, advancing the runner to third. DeSales then scored on a Jimmy Beaky sacrifice fly to left field for the RBI, ending Sparks' night.
Luke Richards entered the game and immediately surrendered four consecutive hits, including back-to-back RBI-singles from Diaz and White.
Preston Allen took the mound for Southwestern and gave the Pirates 1.2 solid innings, giving up just one hit and two walks and holding the Bulldogs scoreless.
Montgomery opened the seventh with a walk and Craig advanced him to third with a single to right field, putting runners in the corners. Kruse followed with a grounder to the pitcher, who caught Montgomery between third and home with nowhere to go for the unassisted out.
After Craig reached third on a passed ball, Sparks hit his third RBI of the night on a single up the middle. Paul then hit Preston Witt to load the bases, getting replaced on the mound by Ryan Reiber, who walked Landon Durdin for the RBI, scoring Kruse to tie the game.
Allen Walked Mish in the top of the eighth, getting replaced by Mitchell Parker, who committed a throwing error on a bunt to put runners on first and second, then walked White to load the bases.
Southwestern had an opportunity to turn a 3-2-3 double play with the force out at home but an error on the throw back to first allowed Diaz to score an unearned run on the play.
DeSales turned to Ryan Passaro to start the eighth, who surrendered a one-out double to Montgomery. Chase Thinger followed with a fly out to right, moving Montgomery over, and Craig hit an RBI-single up the middle to score Montgomery. Kruse followed with an RBI-triple to right center off the wall and then scored on a wild pitch for the final run of the game.
Aaron Clark took the mound to start the ninth and quickly got three outs for his first save of the season.
Parker went one inning and struck out two, allowing one unearned run to get the first win of his collegiate career. The Pirates hit a solid 6-for-14 (.429) with two outs and 7-for-17 (.412) with runners on, including 5-for-14 (.357) with runners in scoring position.
With the win, the Pirates improve to an even 6-6 on the season. Southwestern will host New Jersey City on Wednesday, March 11 at 11:00 a.m. in the final game before conference play begins with a three-game series on the road against Austin College on Friday, March 13 with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 14.