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Late rally falls short at SAU

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s baseball team nearly ended its series with Spring Arbor on a high note Monday.

But the Cougars held off a late charge by the Lancers to secure the doubleheader sweep in Michigan. SAU won the opener 11-1 before eking out a 7-6 win in the finale.

The Lancers (7-9, 3-6 Crossroads League) struggled to find momentum in the first game; SAU racked up seven runs across the first three frames, and Grace never recovered.

The Lancers were held to four hits while committing five errors in the field. Houston Haney hit a double, and Sid Elford recorded a pinch-hit RBI single as the bright spots offensively.

Grace’s bats were more lively in the second half of the twin bill. The Lancers jumped on the scoreboard early for a 2-0 lead.

RJ Snyder started the game with a walk, and he came around to score on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Haney.

Snyder plated again in the third again, benefitting from a pair of errors by the Cougars (11-18, 4-5 CL).

In response, SAU put up three runs in the bottom of the third and four more in the fifth to seize momentum. Conversely, Grace’s offense was quiet until the seventh.

Hunter Ackerman and Sam Newkirk started the seventh inning with singles and then later scored; Grace left two baserunners stranded in the inning, however.

In the eighth, Grace nearly tied the game. The Lancers loaded the bases with nobody out, and a balk allowed Haney a free pass to home plate to make the score 7-5.

On the next at-bat, Newkirk executed a squeeze bunt to score Wyatt Buzbee. But the potential tying run was tagged out on the basepaths to end Grace’s threat. The Lancers were retired 1-2-3 in the ninth to conclude their series with SAU.

Ethan Brooks was Grace’s sharpest pitcher; he went three innings in relief, yielding one hit and no runs.

Snyder scored two runs with two walks, Haney had a run and an RBI, and Newkirk finished 1-for-3 with a run and a run driven in.

The Lancers remain on the road Tuesday with a 2:30 p.m. doubleheader at IU Kokomo.