(Westwego, La.) Coming off a split against Louisiana College over the weekend, the Loyola University New Orleans baseball team returned to Segnette Field on Tuesday evening to welcome USCAA representative College of St. Joseph to town for a non-conference doubleheader.
Looking to earn its seven and eight wins of the season, the Wolf Pack had a tall task in front of them on Tuesday as they faced off against a Fighting Saints team that finished the 2016 season with a 52-11 overall record and a victory in the USCAA Baseball National Championship game.
Despite some excellent pitching by St. Joseph, the Wolf Pack was able to record two walk-offs on Tuesday to earn the sweep 3-2 and 10-9 in Westwego. With the victories, Loyola improves to 9-5 on the year heading into a three-game series at (RV) LSU-Shreveport on February 25.
Game One: Loyola 3 – St. Joseph 2
Wolf Pack pitcher Nick Moore (SR/Marrero, La.) started out the game on a tear by throwing five straight strikes to start the first inning. With Moore in control, Loyola managed to keep the Fighting Saints off the board following the first half inning.
Rawlings Elam (JR/Houston, Tx.) led off the first with a walk and then advanced to second off a stolen base. With one out, Blake Toscano (SR/Metairie, La.) singled to center field to advance Elam to third. Jesse Jordan (SO/New Iberia, La.) then reached on a catcher’s interference before Ben Condara (JR/Houston, Tx.) sent a sacrifice fly out to center to score Elam and put the home team up 1-0 after one inning of action.
Over the next two and half innings, Moore would only surrender one hit and the score remained 1-0 heading into the bottom of fourth. After reaching on a double to deep center, Alexander Lorenzo (SR/Miami, Fla.) was brought in on a RBI single by Spencer Rosenbohm (JR/Daphne, Ala.) to give the home team the 2-0 advantage after four.
Despite some trouble in the sixth inning, Moore kept the Fighting Saints scoreless through the seventh and the Wolf Pack retained the 2-0 lead entering the final frame.
Down 0-2, St. Joseph came alive in the seventh, tagging Moore for two runs to knot the game. With the score knotted at 2-2, Alex Acevedo was brought to try and stop the Fighting Saint momentum. With two outs, Acevedo snuck a waist-high curveball past Jesus Salcedo to end the inning with the game tied at two all.
Lorenzo led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and then stole second to give Loyola a runner on with now outs. Following a strikeout, pinch hitter Jimmy Richardson (FR/Pensacola, Fl.) stepped to the plate and send a shot off the wall to score Lorenzo and give the Wolf Pack the thrilling 3-2 victory in game one.
Lorenzo went 3-for-3 with two runs to pace the Loyola attack. On the mound, Acevedo (3-1) got his team-high third victory after allowing one run in 0.1 innings pitched. Moore pitched a brilliant outing against St. Joseph, pitching 6.2 innings while only giving up one run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Game Two: Loyola 10 – St. Joseph 9
The Fighting Saints came out in game two and put up two runs right off the bat to take the 2-0 advantage after the first half inning.
The Wolf Pack instantly responded by putting up four runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by two RBI by Richardson. Entering the second, Loyola held the 4-2 lead at Segnette Field.
St. Joseph tacked on one more run in the second to cut the deficit to just one run at 4-3. After loading the bases in the second, Loyola put up two runs off of bases-loaded walks to stretch the home team’s cushion to 6-3.
The visiting team outscored Loyola 6-1 over the next five innings to grab the 9-7 lead in Westwego with just one-half inning to play. In the bottom of the seventh, Lorenzo singled to left to score Toscano before being brought in off yet another RBI from Richardson. With the score locked at 9-9, newcomer Nathan Law (FR/Arab, Ala.) came to the plate and smashed a single out to right field to score Ben Condara from third and give the Wolf Pack its second-straight walk-off victory of the day.
Richardson went 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBI in game two. Lorenzo continued his stellar play with a 2-for-3 and two RBI performance while Brandon Wilson Jr. (FR/Chalmette, La.) tallied two RBI on two hits in the victory.
Loyola used five pitchers in game two with Acevedo (4-1) earning his second-straight victory of the afternoon after going one inning while allowing no runs on no hits.