No. 30 Army And Holy Cross Split Sunday Doubleheader

Nick Dignacco

Nick Dignacco

April 29, 2012

Game One Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

Game Two Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

WORCESTER, Mass. - The 30th-ranked Army baseball team finished off its four-game Patriot League series versus Holy Cross by splitting a doubleheader with the Crusaders on a sun-splashed and blustery Sunday afternoon at Fitton Field.

The Crusaders took a 5-0 decision in the first game behind Nate Koneski's two-hit shutout, while the Black Knights came from behind in to earn a 4-3 victory in the nightcap.

After three scoreless frames, Holy Cross (29-20, 13-7 PL) broke on top 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning of the opener on Brandon Cipolla's fourth home run of the season. Stephen Wadsworth and Steven Tkowski hit consecutive one-out singles to put runners on first and second. Then, after Kyle Stearns grounded out, Cipolla launched a three-run shot over the fence in left center field.

Holy Cross tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on Mike Ahmed's two-run double. Stearns and Evan Ocello both reached on infield singles and Ahmed drove both runners home when he lined a two-out double into the right field corner.

The run support was more than enough for Koneski, who allowed just two hits and one walk en route to his first complete-game shutout of the season. Koneski (6-2) struck out seven batters and faced just two over the minimum.

Ahmed went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in to pace Holy Cross' 12-hit attack. Wadsworth and Ocello each finished with two hits apiece.

Army starter Logan Lee (5-2) took the loss for the Black Knights. The Black Knights' left-hander permitted five runs on 12 hits. He struck out five and did walk a batter.

Andrew Johnson and Alex Jensen each recorded singles to account for Army's only hits of the contest.

Holy Cross took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap as the Crusaders pushed across a pair of runs on two hits and one Army error. Alex Maldonado hit a one-out double and scored from second base on Chris Sintetos' RBI single. Then, after Wadsworth reached on a throwing error by Army third baseman Harold Earls, Sintetos scored from third base on Tkowski's sacrifice fly to deep right field.

Army (35-12, 18-2 PL) rallied to the score at 2-all in the top of the second inning as the Black Knights scored two runs without the aid of a hit. Mark McCants and Cody Murtle received consecutive walks to begin the uprising, and both runners moved into scoring position when Matthew Carter laid down a sacrifice bunt. Then, after J.T. Watkins grounded out to third base, McCants and Murtle both scored on a strange play that involved a wild pitch and a throwing error by the Holy Cross catcher. McCants scampered home on Matt Croglio's wild pitch, and Murtle, who was running hard from second base, came around to plate an unearned run when Tkowski's throw from the backstop to home plate sailed wide.

The Black Knights scored an unearned run in the top of the fifth to move in front, 3-2. Jensen drew a leadoff walk, moved to second base on a failed pickoff attempt, took third on Clayton Mosley's groundout and scored when Earls reached on an error by the shortstop.

Army manufactured an insurance run in the top of the eighth to increase its lead to 4-2. McCants hammered a one-out double to deep center field, moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Murtle's sacrifice fly.

Holy Cross made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth as Ahmed crushed a leadoff home run off Army reliever Gunnar Carroll, trimming the Black Knights' lead to 4-3.

Carroll was able to retire the side, however, to collect his fifth save of the season. He allowed one run on two hits over 3.1 innings of work.

Army starter Nick Dignacco (6-2) settled down after a rocky first inning to pick up his fifth straight victory. The sophomore left-hander gave up two runs (one earned) on eight hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out seven and walked one. Dignacco finishes the Patriot League regular season with a perfect 5-0 record against conference foes.

Kevin McKague went 2-for-4 to pace Army's four-hit attack in the nightcap.

Croglio (3-4) was saddled with the loss for Holy Cross after yielding three runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks over four-plus innings.

Ocello went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to lead the Crusaders offensively.

Army returns to action on Tuesday, May 1, when the Black Knights host La Salle in a non-conference game at Doubleday Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Game Notes: Army moves to 63-29-2 all-time versus Holy Cross ... the Black Knights wore their alternate black jerseys with gray pants and black caps for both games of today's doubleheader ... Army's 18 Patriot League victories are the most for the Black Knights since they joined the league in 1993 ... the 18 conference wins are the most by any league team since the circuit adopted the current 20-game schedule in 1996.

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