Pikeville, Ky. -- The St. Catharine baseball team began postseason play with a 4-3 victory over Pikeville (Ky.) in the opening round of the Mid-South Conference Baseball Tournament.
The Patriots (33-19) scored single runs in the first, third and fourth innings while they added a key insurance run in the eighth inning to come away with the win. The Bears (24-22) made it interesting in the ninth with a run, but the visitors were able to hold on for the win.
Just the day after being named MSC Pitcher of the Year, senior right-hander, Daniel Lerma (Oxnard, Calif.) showed why he deserved the award. Lerma (6-4) tossed seven innings, allowing two unearned runs on seven hits.
St. Catharine got on the board first in the opening inning taking a 1-0 lead thanks to Hector Quinones (Barceloneta, PR). After two quick outs, Quinones blasted the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a solo home run – his fifth of the season.
The Patriots were right back at in the third inning extending their lead to 2-0. This time it was Carlos Cespedes (Santo Domingo, DR) who played long ball. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Cespedes put a charge in one that cleared the fence in left field for a solo home run.
The Patriots added to their lead in the fourth inning with a run on two hits. Tyler Devine (Harrodsburg, Ky.) ripped a two-out double and Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, Ind.) scored Devine on a single to center to give his team a 3-0 lead.
Pikeville was able to capitalize on key Patriot errors in both the fourth and fifth innings as they scored an unearned run in each inning to cut the St. Catharine lead to 3-2. The Patriots battled back in the eighth inning when they added a key insurance run.
Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) was hit by a pitch and Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) bunted and reached on a base hit. After Wenning and Bohorquez moved up 90 feet on stolen bases, Hector Quinones hit a sacrifice fly to score Wenning and make the score 4-2.
Freshman right-hander, Joseph Martin (Fort Thomas, Ky.) – who was named Co-Freshman of the Year on Wednesday – entered the game in the eighth inning. Martin got a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning to keep the lead at two, 4-2, heading to the ninth inning.
Junior closer, Jake McCoy (Mesa, Ariz.) was called upon to close the game out in the ninth inning. UPIKE scored a run and had the tying run at second, but McCoy picked up his eighth save of the season after he got back-to-back strikeouts to end the game and seal the 4-3 win.
With the win on Thursday afternoon, the Patriots will need one of the two games on Friday to advance to the final four in Bowling Green. The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon ET.