Grace picks up first win of season at USF

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team enjoyed its first victory of the year against St. Francis on Monday.

The Lancers were quiet in the opening game during a 4-0 loss, but Grace came up with timely plays to win the second game 4-2.

The doubleheader, originally scheduled to be Grace’s home opener, was moved to Fort Wayne due to playing conditions in Winona Lake. Grace still batted as the home team despite playing in Fort Wayne.

In the first game, the Lancers (1-16, 1-2 Crossroads League) and USF both had eight hits. But the Cougars (5-14, 2-1 CL) walked away with a 4-0 victory.

All four of USF’s runs came in the fourth inning. The Cougars used five singles and a sacrifice fly to plate four times.

Grace had potential rallies snuffed out three times with a double play, occurring in the third, fourth and sixth innings.

Hunter Ackerman, who batted a perfect 3-for-3 in the game, tried to jumpstart a rally in the seventh with a double, but he was stranded on second base to end the game.

Kyle Brunner and Jordan Noska pitched clean innings of relief for Grace, and starter Scottie Clark went five innings with four strikeouts and four runs. Ethan Brooks reached base twice with a walk and a hit.

Grace’s bats came alive in the latter parts of the second game, propelling the Lancers to victory. The Cougars held Grace scoreless for the first four innings, but strong pitching from David Anderson kept the score close.

Anderson, who pitched seven innings to get the victory, held USF to two unearned runs from the mound.

Grace tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. William Swisher singled and reached third base after a walk and a balk. He then scampered home after Mitchell Enyart singled to the outfield.

In the sixth, Grace pulled ahead. Houston Haney doubled and stole third base. Austin Baker singled Haney in, and Baker went on to steal second. Swisher launched a double to right field, scoring Baker and giving Grace a 3-1 lead.

Ackerman hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to bring in Gabe Douglass for an insurance run.

Brunner and Noska combined again to lock up the Cougars over the final two innings, combining to allow no runs on one hit from the mound.

Swisher batted 2-for-3, and Haney and Enyart were 2-for-4. Baker plated two times, and Cameron Maxwell had a hit and two walks.

The Lancers travel down to Indianapolis on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. game against Marian.