By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
Saint Mary’s baseball has started action for the anticipated spring season. The rains have thwarted some of their early season contests but they were able to host Loyola Tuesday night. Early action had the teams unable to score off each other in the first inning of play. Number 19 for the Flyers was on the mound and proved to be difficult to hit early. The Tigers drew first blood and put a single run on the score board in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Lirette singled over the head of the short stop and Brock Zeagler scored from third base. In the top of the third inning Zach White issues a lead-off walk and the Flyer’s make him pay.
The Tigers can’t make a play at the plate on a hard hit ball to Slade Bienvenu at short stop. That is followed by a blooper over the mound and Loyola takes a 2-1 lead. That is all that the Tigers give up and they start the bottom of the third down one. The Flyers retire the side three up three down to end the third inning. Zeagler gets the call to pitch the fourth and he gives up a lead-off walk. Lirette comes up big for the Tigers throwing out two Flyers attempting to steal second base.
The second throw down retired the Flyers. Saint Mary’s can’t put points on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning and play moves to the fifth. William Broadway starts on the mound for Saint Mary’s and he has trouble painting the strike zone. He issues a couple of walks and before you know it the bases are loaded. Loyola scores two runs on a hard hit line drive over the head of third base. That makes it 4-1 before the Tigers get out of the inning on a double play ball hit to Bienvenu. In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers have runners on first and second for Matt Nelson at the plate. Nelson connects on a pitch high in the zone. He powers the hit over third and almost to the wall allowing two runners to score. Nelson stands on second after the double. The score is 4-3 in favor of the Flyers. Saint Mary’s loads the bases when Zach White comes to the plate. He hits a grounder to first base and the ball is handled well but the Flyers commit an error on the throw from first to home. Tigers score two runs and take the lead 5-4. That would finish the fifth inning. Loyola is unable to produce any scoring in the top of the sixth as Broadway settles in on the mound. Broadway gets the Flyers to ground into a double play ball to end the inning. A new pitcher enters the game in the bottom of the sixth for Loyola. Saint Mary’s gets several runners on base and the Flyers commit another error on a ball thrown over the head of the third baseman.
Tigers score one run and Nelson advances to third base. Nelson steals home on a pitch in the dirt and the score is SMH 7 Flyers 4. White extends the inning on a dribble hit that gets past the pitcher and the Flyers can’t make the play at first. Zeagler gets hit by a pitch and advances to first base. Luke Gallien then hits a zinger over the second baseman and the Tigers add to the score. The pitcher is then called for a balk. That scores another run for the Tigers and extends the lead to 10-4 in favor of Saint Mary’s. That would do it for Saint Mary’s scoring. The Loyola Flyers enter the top of the seventh down by 6 and desperately needing runs. They are unable to answer the call.
Tiger’s centerfielder Nick Torrent makes a sliding catch to retire the Flyers and strand a runner on second base. That seals the victory for Saint Mary’s. The Tigers play in Monroe in the Trey Altick tournament this weekend.