UPLAND, IND. - Solid pitching was the story of the day on Thursday afternoon as Lourdes opened the 2013 baseball season with a doubleheader split at Taylor. The Gray Wolves won the opener 2-1 before falling in the nightcap 3-2 at Winterholter Field in Upland, Ind.
"If we can pitch and play defense like we did today we can be very successful this season," head coach Andy Ham said after the twinbill.
Lourdes wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in game one. Austin Gunn (Delta, Ohio/Delta H.S.) led off the game with a single to left and stole second. He then took off for third, stealing the base and scoring as the throw from the Trojan catcher was wild. Tim DeCant (Northwood, Ohio/Lake H.S.) made it 2-0 Gray Wolves as he hit a home run to leftfield.
"Gunn was pesky on the bases and Tim had the big hit for us," Ham added.
Taylor answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Derek Kinzer led off with a double down the rightfield line, moved to third on a single by Austin York, and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Taylor Luna.
That would be all of the offense for the game as Lee Lovejoy (Ravenna, Ohio/Ravenna H.S.) was locked up in a pitcher's duel with Taylor's Ryan Baker. Lovejoy allowed just four hits over six innings to earn the win (1-0) before Matt Olsavsky (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne H.S.) earned his first collegiate save with a scoreless seventh as the Gray Wolves won a season opener for the first time in program history.
"Lee was the story in game one," Ham stated. "He pitched very well today."
The Trojans had their chances, leaving seven runners on base in the game. Taylor had a runner on second with two outs in the fourth, put a runner on second with one out in the fifth, and had two men aboard with two outs in the sixth, but Lovejoy worked out of the jam each time.
In the seventh, Olsavsky, a freshman, fanned the first hitter he faced before allowing a one-out walk. A wild pitch moved Kevin Garrity to second and he advanced to third on a flyout to right for the second out of the inning. The rookie then induced a foul out from Kevin Fahy to end the game.
Baker went the distance suffering the loss (0-1), retiring 11 Gray Wolves in a row after the first inning home run until a Sam Jerome (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton H.S.) single in the fifth. He allowed just the three hits and struck out nine without walking anyone.
In game two it was the Trojans that struck first with a run in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back singles to lead off the inning by Jordan Coffey and Danny Moorehead followed by a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases. Brian Moore reached on a fielder's choice to plate Coffey with the first run of the game, but Frank Shaffer (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg H.S.) stranded the final two runners. Shaffer worked out of a second and third, two-out jam in the third to keep the deficit at one before Lourdes bats got going in the nightcap.
After Kinzer, the game two starter for Taylor, retired the first nine hitters of the game, Gunn beat out a bunt single for the Gray Wolves first hit. Josh Redies (Saline, Mich./Saline H.S.) then led off the fifth with a single to left and Andy Kefalos (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton H.S.) was hit by a pitch to put two runners aboard. Garret Jex (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green H.S.) reached on an error to load the bases with one out before Cole Fitzgerald (Rome, N.Y./Centerville [Ohio] H.S.) tied the game with a fielder's choice RBI.
Taylor (1-1) took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh. With one out Coffey drew a walk and Moorehead singled, ending the day for Shafer. Sean Shanks (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips H.S.) came on and walked Daimon Buck to load the bases before inducing a fielder's choice ground out to score Coffey. Moore then scored on a two-out wild pitch, making it 3-1 Trojans.
Lourdes tried to rally in the seventh as Ryan Kovar (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine H.S.) hit his first home run of the season on a shot to right. The Gray Wolves could not get any more hits against Luna though, who earned the victory (1-0) in relief.
Shaffer suffered the loss (0-1) for the Gray Wolves despite allowing just three runs and four hits in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out four while walking three.
"Frank pitched well in game two but we needed to have better approaches at the plate," Ham concluded. "The wind picked up and we thought we were all home run hitters instead of just trying to drive the ball."
Lourdes (1-1) will return to the diamond on Friday, Feb. 22, to begin a four-game weekend series at Asbury. First pitch in game one of Friday's twinbill is set for 1 p.m. in Wilmore, Ky.