May 19, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. - Mark McCants laced a two-out walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning of game two on Sunday to give Army a sweep over Holy Cross in the Patriot League Baseball Championship series at Fitton Field.
The third-seed Black Knights (29-21) won the nightcap, 5-4, on McCants' hit after taking a 9-4 victory in the opener on Sunday. Army never trailed in either game to repeat as Patriot League champion and win its League-best seventh all-time title.
The Black Knights earn the Patriot League's automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Regionals, which begin on May 31. The selection of the field will be announced on May 27 at Noon on ESPNU.
Army becomes the first repeat Patriot League champion since the Black Knights also pulled it off in 2004 and 2005. Army has won five of its seven titles in the last 10 years. The Black Knights pull ahead of Navy for the most titles in Patriot League history.
It was the first sweep in the Patriot League Championship series since Army beat Lafayette in 2009. The Black Knights, who swept Navy in the semifinal round, became the first team to go undefeated in the four-team Patriot League Tournament format which began in 2008.
The series was a rematch of last year's Patriot League Championship, won by the Black Knights in three games over the Crusaders in West Point. Top-seed Holy Cross (28-25) has still yet to win a Patriot League Tournament, and falls in the Championship series for the third time in four seasons.
Chris Rowley, who started and earned a complete-game victory in game one in both the semifinal and Championship series for the Black Knights, was named the Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player. McCants, Grant Van Orden and Harold Earls were named to the All-Tournament Team from Army, while Patrick Puentes, Donny Murray and John Colella made the list for Holy Cross. Also making the squad were Bucknell's Rob Krentzman and Anthony Gingerelli and Navy's Dave Milanes and Anthony Parenti.
For more information, including box scores and recaps from all of the 2013 League Tournament games, go to Patriot League Baseball Championship Central
Patriot League Baseball Championship Series
#3 Army @ #1 Holy Cross (Army Wins Series, 2-0)
Game 1: Army 9, Holy Cross 4
WORCESTER, Mass - Army plated three runs in the top of the first inning to take the lead and five in the seventh to pull away for a 9-4 victory over Holy Cross in game one of the Patriot League Baseball Championship series on Sunday at Fitton Field.
Chris Rowley tossed a complete game on the mound to earn the victory, and was later named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player for his pair of complete-game wins in the Black Knights' two series.
Rowley went to the mound with three runs already in his pocket. Patrick Mescher had an RBI single and Jacob Page followed with a two-run double as the Black Knights took a 3-0 lead before Holy Cross came to bat.
The Crusaders got two back in the bottom of the first on an RBI groundout by Jordan Enos followed by an RBI single for Mike Ahmed.
Rowley and Holy Cross starter Tom Marra buckled down after the rocky starts to each keep the score at 3-2 heading to the seventh inning. Army broke out there with five runs to all but put the game away. Mescher had an RBI groundout, Andrew Johnson laced an RBI single and a run scored on an error to make the score 6-2, and Van Orden finished the damage with a two-run single to give Army the 8-2 lead.
Holy Cross scored a single run in the eighth to get within 8-3, and each team tacked on a run in the ninth for the 9-4 final.
Rowley allowed four runs on 11 hits and a walk with four strikeouts in his complete-game victory. Van Orden went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while Mescher was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs and McCants went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Andrew Barry and Puentes each had three hits for Holy Cross. Barry and Evan Ocello each had two runs, while Ahmed drove in a pair.
Game 2: Army 5, Holy Cross 4
WORCESTER, Mass. - Mark McCants hit a two-out walk-off RBI single to give Army a 5-4 victory over Holy Cross and secure the Patriot League Championship for the Black Knights in game two on Sunday at Fitton Field.
The ninth-inning rally started with a one-out bunt single by Harold Earls, who then stole second and third base before McCants hit a single down the left-field line to plate him with the game-winning run.
The Black Knights never trailed in the game, taking the lead initially in the bottom of the first inning when McCants drove in Earls with a triple.
Holy Cross would fight back to tie the score on three separate ocassions. The first came in the third inning when Brandon Cipolla hit an RBI double to even the score at 1-1. Army got that run back in the bottom of the frame, as Earls doubled and scored on an error to give the Black Knights a 2-1 lead.
Holy Cross evened the score again in the top of the fifth on a bases loaded walk by Bobby Indeglia. Army came back with two runs in the bottom of the frame, with McCants singling in Earls and coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by Page as the Black Knights built a 4-2 lead. The Crusaders evened the score again in the sixth. After the first two batters recorded outs, Holy Cross mounted a rally and scored on an infield single by Cipolla and walk by Stephen Wadsworth. However, for the second straight inning the Crusaders left the bases loaded with a chance for more damage.
Army's Brian Hapeman and Holy Cross' John Colella shut the door over the ensuing frames. Hapeman earned the victory by pitching 3.1 scoreless innings with just two hits and a walk allowed. Colella pitched 3.2 scoreless frames until McCants' walk-off single gave Army the title.
Earls went 4-for-5 with four runs scored for the Black Knights, while McCants was 3-for-5 with a run and three RBIs. Alex Robinett got the start and gave up four runs, three earned, in 5.2 innings with five hits and seven walks as well as seven strikeouts.
Donny Murray started for Holy Cross and gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in five innings of work. Cipolla was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while five other Crusaders had a hit in the game. Holy Cross also walked eight times, but left 13 runners on base in the contest.