Chicago, IL - The IIT Scarlet Hawks split a Sunday series against the University of St. Francis on April 7. Game one found the Hawks losing to the University of St. Francis by a score of 1-5.
In game one, despite a strong showing by the Hawks defense and pitching, the squad wasn't able to drive in enough runs to overpower the nationally-ranked Fighting Saints. Freshmen Austin Boos and Sam Pung led the way offensively for the Hawks. Boos went 2-for-3 with two singles and Pung went 2-for-3 with a single and double, while senior Jon Celestino also contributed with an RBI single.
On the mound, freshman Conner Wiebell put forth a gallant effort, pitching a complete game. Wiebell gave up 5 runs, all earned, on 8 hits and 2 walks. Defensively, the Hawks played a clean game, committing no fielding errors.
In Game two, senior pitcher Jack Kosar endured a shaky start, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk in the first inning. Though Kosar ultimately pitched a strong 8 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs, 3 earned, on 10 hits and 2 walks, while striking out two.
Offensively, six Hawks contributed with RBIs. Austin Boos was 2-for-4, with two singles and an RBI, Ryan Fitzpatrick was 2-for-5,with two singles and an RBI, Jon Celestino was 2-for-5 with a single and RBI triple, Michael Malfeo was 3-for-5 with two singles, a double and an RBI, Kevin Glennon was 2-for-5 with two singles and two RBIs and Alex Babusci was 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI.
In a thrilling comeback, the Hawks chipped away at the the Fighting Saints in a steady effort. St. Francis opened the game by scoring 3 runs on six singles and a walk. IIT scored one run each in the first, fourth and sixth innings. With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the seventh, the home squad put up two runs to take a 5-3 lead. The Fighting Saints answered with two runs of their own in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game. In the bottom of the eighth, the Hawks rallied with two runs to take a 7-5 lead, thanks to RBI singles by Michael Malfeo and Kevin Glennon.
Jack Kosar took the ball in the top of the ninth, walking one batter. With the potential game-tying run at the plate, Head Coach Scott Marks called in sophomore Andrew Gustafson from the bullpen to close the game. Gustafson got the job done, striking out the next two St. Francis hitters to earn the save. The final score of 7-5 over the nationally-ranked Fighting Saints showed the Hawks ability to conquer any team in the conference.