Lancers continue surge with sweep of Cougars
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team won its third straight game, sweeping St. Francis in a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Lancers (12-14, 8-7 Crossroads League) continued its impressive Crossroads League campaign by winning 9-8 and 15-7. Grace is currently third place in the league standings over halfway through league play.
In the opening game, Grace scored early and held on late for a one-run win. After three innings, the Lancers led 7-4.
Xavier Harris drove in the game’s first run in the top of the first, and he later came home to score after an error by the Cougars (12-25, 6-9 CL).
Grace took the lead for good in the third with five runs on five hits, all scored with two outs. The inning should have ended with a strikeout on Houston Haney, but USF dropped the third strike which allowed Haney to beat the throw and reach base safely.
The Lancers made USF pay. Later in the inning, Chris Griffin had an RBI triple, and Jacob Sapp drove in another run with a double for Grace’s seventh run.
The fourth inning saw Sam Newkirk score. The freshman doubled and then raced home after a single by Haney.
Griffin added another RBI with a solo home run in the fifth inning. But the Cougars countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to cut Grace’s lead to one.
But that proved to be the final runs of the game. Jacob Hammel came in and produced a clutch 6-out save. He did not allow a hit during the sixth and seventh innings, striking out three in the process.
Griffin and Harris both batted 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, and RJ Snyder was 2 for 4 with 2 runs, 2 stolen bases and 1 double. Mitchell Enyart was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
In the second game, Grace broke open a virtual deadlock with an explosive ninth inning.
The teams could hardly be separated for the first eight innings. Both sides plated twice in the third to start the scoring. Haney launched a two-out, two-run home run on an 0-2 count in the top of the third.
Grace scored two more in the fifth when Harris drove in a pair with a single, but the Cougars had tied the score 4-4 by the end of the sixth.
As the game entered the ninth and final inning, the teams still could not be separated with a 6-6 deadlock.
But in the top of the ninth, Grace unleashed a game-winning stretch. The inning started shakily for the Cougars with an error on the first batted ball. Enyart then had the go-ahead RBI with a single to score Harris. On the next at-bat, Sid Elford doubled to bring in another run.
Shortly afterwards RJ Snyder drove in a pair with a double, and Harris knocked in another with a single. Griffin put the exclamation mark on the inning with a three-run homer over the left field fence.
USF was able to score a run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough to make up for Grace’s nine-run ninth.
Griffin was automatic at the plate, hitting 5 for 5 with with 4 RBIs, 2 runs, 2 triples and 1 home run. Harris was 2 for 5 with two runs and three RBIs, and Haney finished 3 of 4 with two RBIs.
David Anderson had 2 doubles, 3 runs and 1 stolen base, and Snyder was 2 for 5 with 2 runs, 2 RBIs and 1 steal.
Logan Swartzentruber tossed the first five innings, allowing three runs with six hits and a strikeout.
The Lancers return home on Tuesday for a 2 p.m. contest against Indiana Wesleyan.