KENNESAW, Ga.— The Sacred Heart University baseball team earned a doubleheader split against Kennesaw State on Saturday afternoon to conclude its spring break trip.
The Pioneers (3-8) scored two runs in the ninth to take game one 4-2. SHU rallied in game two but the Owls (8-9) took game two and the series win with the 7-6 victory in 10 innings.
Game One – SHU 4, Kennesaw State 2.
Kennesaw State jumped to the early lead as Grant Williams recorded the RBI single to right centerfield with one out. SHU responded in the top half of the second as sophomore Jake Frasca reached on the fielder's choice due to a throwing error by Tyler Simon trying to turn two allowing sophomore Elijah Brown to score from second.
The Pioneers broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth inning as Brown earned the two-out walk and advanced to third on the single by sophomore Austin Markmann. Frasca then went first pitch swinging and delivered the RBI single through the left side to put SHU up 2-1.
It was Williams again that came up big in the sixth for the Owls to tie the game at 2-2 with his RBI single with no outs. SHU looked to score in the top half of the eighth with back-to-back two-out singles by Kyle Oliver and PJ DeFilippo but were held in check by Brooks Buckler.
As the game stayed deadlocked heading into the ninth Brown led off the frame with a walk. After a flyout by Markmann, Brown swiped second and third to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. Frasca then earned the 3-2 walk leaving Kennesaw a force out.
Co-Captain Cody Doyle then delivered the fielder's choice bunt to score Brown from third. Another walk by Logan Hutchison loaded the bases and prompted a pitching change. Sophomore Stephen Thibault then recorded the second RBI of the inning on the fielder's choice to put SHU up 4-2.
Frasca finished the game in relief surrendering just one hit in two innings of work to earn his first career win on the mound as a Pioneer. Junior Brent Teller pitched a strong seven innings in the no-decision, scattering eight hits while surrendering just two runs. He struck out a season-high nine batters.
Brown led the Pioneers offense with a season-high three walks and crossed the plate a season-high three times. Five different SHU batters registered hits in the game.
Game Two – Kennesaw State 7, SHU 6 – 10 innings.
After the game one loss, the Owls got on the board early as Taylor Allum and Griffin Helms recorded back-to-back two-out RBI doubles in the first. The Pioneers were quick to answer yet again as Markmann and senior Dan Schock opened the top of the second with back-to-back singles. Markmann would score on the RBI fielder's choice by Kyle Oliver.
The home team doubled up in the bottom half of the second as Williams plated the two-run double off junior Baylor Sundahl with two outs. Kennesaw State plated a run in the third and sixth inning to take the 5-1 lead.
SHU finally got the offense going in the top half of the seventh as Schock and Oliver picked up back-to-back singles. Sophomore Bobby Garbuio then walked to load the bases. Doyle drove in the first run of the inning on the sacrifice fly to deep centerfield. Nathan Dupree came on to pitch for the Owls picking up the strikeout for the second out.
Brown worked the full count walk to load the bases again. Thibault picked up the two-RBI single to right field to cut the deficit to two. DeFilippo followed that up with the RBI single to right field to bring SHU within one.
The Pioneers headed into the ninth looking to come back yet again as Doyle opened the inning with a single to left field. Freshman Joe Greco came in to pinch run, advancing to second on a passed ball. Kennesaw State then picked up two big strikeouts to put SHU against the wall. Thibault stepped to the dish and delivered on the 3-1 offering from Max Ryan to the wall in left-center field to score the tying run. The Owls picked up the groundout to end the inning.
After SHU went down in order to open the tenth inning, Kennesaw recorded two straight singles to put the go-ahead run on second base. Both runners then advanced to second and third on the sacrifice bunt by David Chabut. Matt Mixon then put the SHU defense on its heels with the bunt single that brought home the game-winning run in the 10th.
Thibault led the Pioneers in game two with a 3-for-5 afternoon at the plate. SHU was outhit 15-10 by the Owls in game two.
Sundahl pitched three innings in the start for SHU, striking out five while allowing five runs. Sophomore Jackson Aldam picked up the loss in relief. The southpaw struck out five in three and third innings of relief before allowing hits to start off the 10th inning.
The Pioneers return up north for a matchup at Stony Brook on Tuesday, March 13 at 3:00 p.m. from Joe Nathan Field.