For the second time in as many days, the Saint Ignatius varsity baseball team absorbed a loss.
A driving, on-again, off-again rain pelted the Wildcats and Bengals at Baldwin Wallace's Fisher Field on Wednesday. Originally scheduled to be held at Progressive Field, the game lasted the full seven innings on BW's turf. The result did not favor the host Wildcats, however, as Benedictine earned a 9-5 victory.
The loss drops the men of Ohio City to 12-5-1 on the season.
The Baseball Cats opened the scoring in the bottom of the second. Austin Jones started the outburst with a single to left. Back-to-back walks by Jack Whelan and AJ Gaich loaded the bases for Erik Daugenti. The junior hit a hard liner to the left side of the infield, where it pinged off the glove of the Bengals' third baseman. The error allowed Lang (pinchrunning for Jones) and Whelan to score. After a Michael Holdsworth walk, Gaich scored on a wild pitch. A strikeout then ended the inning, with the Wildcats ahead 3-0.
After cruising through the first two innings, Connor Mays ran into trouble in the third, hitting a batter with a pitch to start the third. Mays looked poised to emerge unscathed, inducing a ground out and a flyout. But then the Bengals came up in the clutch, drawing a walk and tallying back-to-back hits. Suddenly, the game was tied entering the bottom of the third.
The Wildcats responded on offense. Back-to-back singles by Flynn Lenahan and Austin Jones set the gears in motion. With Matt Ferritto at the plate, Benedictine hurled a wild pitch, allowing Lenahan to score. Jack Whelan then walked to place two on with two out, but the Bengals induced a popout to avoid too much damage.
The Bengals' fourth inning broke the game wide open. The visitors opened the frame with a walk. Four consecutive singles and an outfield error jarred the Wildcats for three runs. Luke Lashutka stopped the bleeding by getting a ground ball, but not before Benedictine scored on an RBI groundout, setting the lead at 7-4.
The Wildcats threatened in the fourth with a single, but could not capitalize. Sam LaGuardia struck out two in a quick fifth to keep Benedictine off the board, but the Bengals returned the favor with a one-two-three inning.
The Bengals cemented the lead in the sixth. Benedictine drew a walk to start the inning, and then another after back-to-back lineouts. A clutch double to right dashed the Wildcats' hopes of getting out of the jam, as the well-hit ball to the corner plated two. With six outs left, the Wildcats trailed, 9-4.
Gaich and Holdsworth singled and McNamara walked to load the bases with two outs. With the tying runner at the plate, Benedictine made a pitching change. Matt Geraci tapped a ball down the third base line, a hit that looked destined to bounce foul. But the ball stayed fair and found the glove of the Bengals' third baseman for a forceout, ending the hopes of a quick comeback.
After Ferritto rolled through the top of the seventh, the Wildcats threatened to score in the driving rain. Jones walked and Jack Whelan doubled to left, placing two on with two out. But the Bengals again managed to escape with a game-ending flyout to left.
This weekend, the Ohio Jesuit Tournament awaits, as Saint Ignatius will be hosting Walsh Jesuit, Toledo St. John's, and St. Xavier.