In both its games Saturday, the Crusader baseball jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Neither lead would prove to be enough, however as the Cru dropped its first game to Whitworth University before falling to Piedmont College.
Seth martin led off the game against Whitworth with a double before shortstop Dakota Parsons launched a ball over the left field wall to give the Cru an early 2-0 lead. Scott Stephens followed the homer with a double of his own and scored when Cody Stone hit another double. The Cru added a fourth run when Matthew Mazoch brought in Stone with an RBI single.
Whitworth got on the board in the third when Daniel Casanova hit an RBI single to make it 4-1. The Cru responded in the fourth inning when a Riley Davis double scored Martin.
Matthew Nelson led off the fourth inning for the Pirates with a walk and scored on a home run from Zach Thibault to make it a 1-run game at 4-3. Whitworth then tied the game on an RBI single from Casey Isa.
The Pirates took the lead in the seventh on an RBI double from Jeremy Druffel, who would later score on a base hit from Nelson to put the Pirates up 6-5.
In the eighth inning, Cru outfielder Will Stafford reached on a fielder’s choice, then stole second and scored on a single by Davis to tie the game at 6.
Druffel led off the top of the ninth with a single for the Pirates and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Whitworth took the lead when Nelson scored Druffel with a base hit. Nelson would then come in and score on a fielder’s choice to make it an 8-6 game.
Nelson then moved from first base to the mound for the bottom of the ninth and earned his second save of the season by striking out all three Crusaders he faced.
Martin went 4-for-5 and scored two runs in the game. Cru starter Casey Frazier went six innings and gave up four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.
An RBI fielder’s choice from Mazoch got the Cru on the board in the second inning. Martin added an RBI single before Davis knocked in two with a base hit to put the Cru up 4-0.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Lions scored a run in the third and took a 5-4 lead with a 4-run fourth inning.
The managed to tie the game at eight in the seventh inning when Davis scored on an error by the third baseman, but the Lions responded with three runs in the seventh to take an 11-8 lead.
Parsons drew the Cru to within two when he blasted his second homer over the left field wall to start the ninth, but that’s all the Cru would get as they fell 11-9.
Even though the team has yet to find the win column, head coach Ben Shipp found a silver lining in the way his team competed.
“The thing that we take away from the first four is the fact that we’ve been in every one of them. These are some of the best teams in the country,” Shipp said. “Nobody likes to lose, but you have to go through these growing pains. I can see it coming.”
While the little things plagued the Cru, Parsons is confident the team’s fortune will change.
“This whole weekend has been some really close games,” If one or two things fall differently, I think we’re 4-0, so we’ve just got to keep fighting and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and try to get a win.”
The team will wrap up the Central Texas Weekend with a 1 p.m. game Sunday against Pacific University.