Baseball defeats Holy Cross, advances to PL Championship

By Kat Castner Army Athletic Communications

 Senior pitcher Daniel Burggraaf battled for six innings allowing just two hits and one run during his time on the hill while strucking out a game-high nine batters in Army West Point’s 5-3 win over Holy Cross Sunday in Game 3 of the Patriot League semifinal series.  Photo by Eric S. Bartelt/PV
  Junior centerfielder Jacob Hurtubise, who earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, led all players with three hits in the deciding game of the Patriot League semifinal series. The junior recorded two runs batted in and a run scored as well. Photo by Mark Seliger/Holy Cross Athletics

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 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
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.
Junior centerfielder 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, Indiana, native also swiped his 40th bag of the year to become the Patriot League’s career stolen base leader with 100.
Sophomore third baseman Anthony Giachin and junior rightfielder Drake Titus chipped in with two hits each, while sophomore catcher Blake Ledoux finished with a team-high two runs scored.
Senior pitcher Daniel Burggraaf was impressive for the Cadets on the hill. The senior righty battled for six innings allowing just two hits and one run during his time on the hill. The Allyn, Washington, native also struck out a game-high nine batters.

Army highlights and game notes
• Hurtubise stole his 40th base of the year to pull him within two of tying his own single-season record, which he set last season.
• Hurtubise, Giachin (2x), junior first baseman John McKenna and Titus all notched a double in the contest.
• Giachin now has a conference-leading 22 doubles to his name this season.
• The Crusaders tallied four extra base hits in the game, including three doubles.
• Pitchers Ray Bartoli, Cam Opp and Harry Flannery Jr. all saw action on the hill for Army.
• Bartoli gave up two hits and one run in 1.2 innings, while Opp allowed one run and one hit in 0.2 innings.
• Flannery closed out the final two batters with a clean sheet to earn his third save of the year.
• The Black Knights’ pitching staff combined to strike out 13 batters. Holy Cross’ five-man staff posted nine.
How It happened
• 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 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.

Facts & figures
• Army finished with five runs on 10 hits, while Holy Cross registered three runs on five hits.
• Each team was tagged with an error in the game with Army being credited with one and the Crusaders’ four.
• The Black Knights left 11 runners on base. Holy Cross stranded six.

Up next
• 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.
• First pitch for Friday will be 7 p.m., while the start times for Saturday and Sunday are 2 p.m.
• All games will be played at Navy’s Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium
• Live stats and video will be available at the start of each contest.