WORCESTER, Mass. – The Army West Point baseball team is heading back to the Patriot League Championship Series after a 5-3 win over Holy Cross Sunday night.
After the two teams split a doubleheader on Saturday it all came down to a decisive Game 3 to determine the winner of the Patriot League semifinal series. Unfortunately, mother nature stepped in and forced what ended up being a eight hour rain delay. The contest was originally scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. but was pushed back until 9 p.m. due to rain.
The Black Knights didn’t seem to mind as they jumped out to a 2-0 advantage after two innings. The visitors then added three additional runs throughout the fourth and fifth inning to create a 5-0 gap between the teams.
Holy Cross wouldn’t go down without a fight though as it scored three unanswered runs over the final three innings to make things interesting at the end. Army would eventually register the final out of the game to secure the win and their second-straight trip to the league championship series.
Jacob Hurtubise led all players with three hits. The junior recorded two runs batted in and a run scored as well. That run scored tied Bryan Price’s 1997 single-season runs mark (65). The Zionsville, Ind., native also swiped his 40th bag of the year to become the Patriot League’s career stolen base leader with 100.
Anthony Giachin and Drake Titus chipped in with two hits each, while Blake Ledoux finished with a team-high two runs scored.
Daniel Burggraaf was impressive for the Cadets on the hill. The senior righty battled for 6.0 innings allowing just two hits and one run during his time on the hill. The Allyn, Wash., native also struck out a game-high nine batters.
After an eight hour rain delay, the Black Knights and Crusaders finally got to play their final game of the semifinal series at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Army jumped on things early with a run in the top of the first when Giachin registered a one-out double to center field. His hit scored Hurtubise who was positioned at second after a walk and sacrifice bunt.
The Cadets extended their lead to 2-0 in the second when Hurtubise brought home Ledoux from second. Ledoux started Army’s two-out rally with a walk before reaching second during the next at bat thanks to an error.
Army made it a 3-0 ballgame in the fourth when it plated another run, this time with one out. The Black Knights found themselves with runners on first and second after a walk and single. Hurtubise then stepped into the batters box and blasted an RBI-double down the right field line to increase the advantage.
The score shifted to 5-0 after the fifth when the Cadets saw McKenna and Jeremiah Adams touch home plate. Ledoux registered an RBI-single to center field to score one of Army’s two runs in the inning.
The home side would not go away though notching a run in the bottom of the seventh following a hit-by-pitch and triple. Relief pitcher Bartoli came in though to strike out the side to limit the damage.
Holy Cross again cut into the deficit in the eighth when it watched Chris Rinaldi launch a double to center field to score Jared Enders from first. That hit trimmed the lead to 5-2.
The Crusaders plated one final run in the bottom of the ninth but Flannery came in to close the door to preserve the win.
The Black Knights head to the Patriot League tournament championship series where they will meet service-academy rival Navy for a best-of-three series.
The two teams will play one game Friday, one contest Saturday, and one game Sunday, if necessary.