Patriots win on the Calvert Hall turf for the second time this year

(From left) Ryan Archibald stroked a pair of doubles, Tyler Blittersdorf made the start and pitch 3.2 scoreless innings and Nick Collier tossed the final three innings in a 5-3 win over Calvert Hall.

by Joe DiBlasi

In an unusual turn of events, top-ranked John Carroll was the home team at Calvert Hall’s Carlo Crispino Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in Towson, as the schools agreed to move their scheduled contest from JC’s campus, because of wet field conditions, to the turf at Calvert Hall, rather than postpone the critical MIAA A Conference baseball showdown.

What appeared to be a major advantage for the third-ranked Cardinals, proved to be no problem for the Patriots as they bounced back from their first loss of the season, Monday at Gilman, to defeat Calvert Hall, 5-3, and complete a season sweep of the Cardinals, with both wins at Calvert Hall where the Cardinals have enjoyed a tremendous home field advantage.

The Patriots, who won 16 in a row to start the season, started a new streak on Wednesday, while snapping Calvert Hall’s run of 11 straight wins.

The John Carroll pitching staff got the job done on Wednesday, under the lights at the Hall. Starter Tyler Blittersdorf held the Cardinals to one run on four hits in 3.2 innings of work, and Hunter Tipton scooped up the victory when he came on to get the final out in the fourth and the first two outs in the fifth, before giving way to JC ace Nick Collier following a two-out single. Collier, who pitched four innings at Gilman on Monday, did not have his best stuff but he was able to navigate his way through the final three innings, including a Calvert Hall threat in the top of seventh.

The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Lead-off hitter Grant Astle drew a walk off of Calvert Hall starter Kasey Baumgard and Ryan Archibald drove Astle in with an opposite-field double to left.

Nick Santaro singled to start the second inning for the Patriots, and Brad Hock reached base on an infield error. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Matthew Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to right to put the Pats up 2-0.

John Carroll leadoff hitter Grant Astle went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.

Calvert Hall cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth when Jose Torres, who had three hits on the day for Coach Lou Eckerl, doubled to deep left-center on a ball that went all the way to the base of the fence.

Torres moved to third on a single off the bat of Mason Unfried, and he scored on Ethan Koster’s sac fly to left.

John Carroll made it 3-1 in the fifth, when Archibald led-off with his second double of the day. He tagged up and moved to third on a fly to right, and scored when the Calvert Hall right-fielder over-threw third base on the play.

Calvert Hall cut the lead again in the top of the sixth when it loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a fielder’s choice. A sac fly from Dom Freeberger cut the John Carroll lead to 3-2.

The Pats answered with two in the bottom of the sixth, again courtesy of the Calvert Hall defense, as a throwing error turned a walk and a hit, into a pair of runs.

The Cardinals scratched out their third run of the day in the top of the 7th. Antonio Barranca walked, moved to second when Unfried got his second single of the day, and he scored on a base hit by Koster, who also had two base hits for the Hall. With the tying runs on board, Collier retired Pete Marchineck on strikes to end the game.

John Carroll skipper Darrion Siler was proud of the way his team got their bounce back win.

“I told the guys to get refocused and get back to what we do,” said Siler. “We talked about approach and they executed.”

In reference to rebounding from their first loss, in a tough environment, Archibald said, “It shows that we can bounce back from anything. It’s been 6 or 8 years since we’ve beaten them here, and now we got them twice (on their home field).”

Blittersdorf, who took the mound for only his second appearance on the hill for the Patriots this year, said he just wanted to throw strikes.

“I let my defense do the work,” said Blittersdorf. “As hot as they were, to shut them out for three and two-thirds really felt good.”

Collier, who has been dealing with a groin injury, said it was a tough battle. “They’re a good team. They are right up there with us, and this was a big win.”

Eckerl thanked John Carroll for coming to Towson to play.

“That was an honorable thing for them to do to keep us on schedule,” said Eckerl. “I appreciate that although I didn’t appreciate that they played so well.”

On the game itself however, Eckerl said, “You can’t make mistakes against good teams, and they are the best team in the league right now. I take my hat off to them. They played exceptionally well today and they deserved to win.”

CH 000 101 1 — 3 9 3
JC 110 012 x — 5 6 0
Blittersdorf, Tipton (4), Collier (5) and Stakias; Baumgart, Power (3), Freiberger (6) and Landwehr
WP-Tipton LP-Blittersdorf
2B: CH-Torres 2, Marchineck; JC-Archibald 2.