After kicking off the Iowa Conference season this past Monday against Central College, the Duhawks opened up their four game series against the Simpson College Storm Friday night at Petrakis Park. Loras was hoping to bounce back from a tough mid-week loss to Cornell, a game in which they lost 17-6. Head Coach Carl Tebon sent sophomore Adam Schwoebel out to the mound to pitch the first game of the doubleheader on Friday.
Schwoebel started off the first giving up back to back singles, but would reel it in and shut down the Storm without allowing any further damage. In the bottom of the first, Loras got right to work, with senior Mike Canevello singling up the middle. Freshman Patrick Walsh moved Canevello over to third with his single, and Alex Rodriguez came up with a clutch two-out single to bring Canevello home for the first run of the ball game.
Simpson would not tally until the top of the third, when leadoff hitter Jake Barr singled to left-center, followed up by Tyler Crandell reaching base by way of a hit-by-pitch. Five-hole hitter Jake Scieszinski knocked in two runs with his single up the middle, allowing Simpson to take the 2-1 lead. Simpson would add to their lead in the top of the fifth, when Crandell and Tyler Craig combined for back-to-back doubles.
Getting the start in right field, freshman Justin Montalvo reached base on an error by Crandell, which led to a two run inning thanks to a single from Canevello and a sacrifice fly from Jordan Ries.
With the score tied at three, the two teams went to extra innings. A walk by Walsh got the Duhawks in business in the bottom of the 8th. Sophomore Nate Even came into the game as a pinch-runner, and wasted no time advancing to second base on a stolen base. Then after a flyout to the shortstop, junior Eric DeSousa came to the plate and blooped a single into center field, scoring Even from second base, and taking the victory in extra-innings. Schwoebel went the distance, earning the victory for the Duhawks.
In the nightcap, it would be Walsh who toed the rubber for Tebon & Co. After an impressive showing during their spring trip to Florida, Walsh would put on a display over his seven innings that prevented Simpson from ever gaining an edge. Both teams displayed prime pitching and tough defense throughout most of the game, but it would be the bottom of the fifth that pushed Loras out in front, giving them a lead that they would not relinquish.
Montalvo and junior Mark Jablonski would both earn walks in the bottom of the fifth, bringing junior Mike Pudlo up to bat. Pudlo hit a hard ground ball past the third baseman, driving in Montalvo and breaking the scoreless tie. Canevello would follow that up with a double to the wall in left, bringing home Jablonski. Ries hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Pudlo from third. Senior Cody Richter rounded out the scoring, lacing a single to left field, driving in Canevello.
The four runs would be more than enough for Walsh, as he remained nearly unhittable all night long. For good measure, Jablonski went yard in the bottom of the sixth, driving in two more runs. Going into the top of the seventh, Walsh had a no-hitter in tact, but back-to-back one out singles broke up the no-hit bid. Walsh ended the night with 11 strikeouts, a shutout, and the second complete game of the day for the Duhawks.
"First varsity win as a pitcher feels great. I gotta give a shoutout to my fielders, they [Simpson] could have had plenty more hits than that. It was a great team win," Walsh said.
For Walsh, the win is certainly impressive and proves to the conference that Loras is not a team to be taken lightly. But even more impressive is the fact that Walsh is a freshman, and this kind of performance could become a regular occurrence over his next four seasons.
"I hope its something we can get accustomed to. Normally its not eleven, but I still get a good amount of strikeouts. I'll take eleven whenever."
The Duhawks return to the diamond tomorrow as they'll finish up the four game series against Simpson with another doubleheader, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00pm.