Pikeville, Ky. -- The St. Catharine baseball team punched their ticket to the Final Four of the Mid-South Conference Baseball Tournament on Friday afternoon when they earned a split at Pikeville (Ky.).
After getting the 4-3 victory on Thursday, the Patriots (33-20) needed to win just one of the two games today to clinch the Opening Round series win. They did just that in the second game when they won 5-3 to win the series 2-1.
The Bears (24-23) were able to force the “if necessary” after they got a 3-2 win in 10 innings in the opener. The Patriots were able to bounce back after the loss and clinch the series win in the finale.
Game 1: St. Catharine 2, Pikeville 3
After the game was all knotted at 2-2 after nine innings of play the game moved to extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth inning Pikeville got a walk-off single off the bat of Anthony Roberts to give the Bears the 3-2 win.
James Davenport (Louisville, Ky.) took the loss for the Patriots. Davenport (1-3) started the seventh inning and tossed three innings allowing one run on four hits. Davenport held the Bears scoreless through the first three innings, but failed to record an out in the tenth frame.
It was the Patriots that got on the board first with a run in the second stanza to take a 1-0 lead. Nicco Lollio (Brownstown, Mich.) led off the inning with a double and two batters later after a sac bunt, Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, Ind.) hit a sacrifice fly to score Lollio.
The Bears finally broke through in the fourth inning with a run off Joan Pena (New York, N.Y.). Pena started the game and fanned six in six innings of work allowing two runs on four hits. The game was tied at 1-1 until the next half inning when the Patriots regained the lead.
Drew Kissel reached on a drop fly by the center fielder and Will Broady (Greenville, Ky.) was called upon to pinch run. After a passed ball advance Broady to second, Evan Smith (Jacksonville, Ky.) ripped a single to left field to score Broady.
UPIKE tied the game right back up with a run in the bottom half of the fifth, but St. Catharine had their chances to take the lead late. In the sixth inning, the Patriots had a runner advance to third with one out, but came up empty after Pikeville got out of the jam.
Another opportunity came in the seventh when they had two on and none out, but a failed sacrifice bunt attempt diminished any chances of scoring the go ahead run. The stalled innings allowed UPIKE to seize control of the game and score in the 10th inning for the 3-2 win.
Game 2: St. Catharine 5, Pikeville 3
With the Patriots trailing 2-1 heading into the seventh inning, senior first baseman, Tyler Devine delivered one of the biggest hits of the season. With the bases juiced the Harrodsburg, Ky. native ripped a double that cleared the bases and gave his team a 4-2 lead.
Pikeville cut the deficit in half with a run in the eighth inning, but the visitors added a key insurance run in the ninth to seal the 5-3 win. Freshman Joseph Martin (Fort Thomas, Ky.) picked up the win in relief. Martin (5-1) pitched 3.2 innings allowing one run on two hits.
After neither team scored in the first three innings, St. Catharine busted through in the fourth with a run taking a 1-0 advantage. With one out, Nicco Lollio doubled and the next batter, Tyler Devine ripped a single to right to score Lollio from second.
Pikeville also came through in the bottom half with a run on St. Catharine starter, Marvin Galarza (Arecibo, PR). Galarza allowed one run on four hits in 3.1 innings of work. The Bears added a run in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.
Just as the Patriots couldn’t come up with the key hit in the first game, their fortune changed in the second game when they got the key hit in the seventh inning.
After one quick out, Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) and Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) walked. Then two batters later, Nicco Lollio walked to load the bases. Tyler Devine then came through with a bases clearing double to give his team the 4-2 advantage.
After picking up the win in yesterday’s game, Daniel Lerma (Oxnard, Calif.) entered the game in the eighth. Lerma allowed a run and was pulled for junior closer Jake McCoy (Mesa, Ariz.). McCoy stranded the tying run at second base with a ground out to keep the lead intact.
The Patriots added a key insurance run in the ninth to make their lead 5-3. Lollio reached on a fielder’s choice and Devine followed suite with a single. Jamaal Wilson (Vine Grove, Ky.) pinch ran for Lollio and Drew Kissel hit a fielder’s choice that allowed Wilson to score.
The Patriots then needed three outs to clinch the series. Jake McCoy came back out for the ninth and allowed a leadoff walk, but he buckled down and struck out the side to clinch the win while he picked up his ninth save of the season.
Up Next: With the 2-1 series win, St. Catharine now advances to the four team double elimination tournament next weekend at Bowling Green Ballpark in Bowling Green, Ky.