For any number of college students, the arrival of March blue skies in sun-starved northern Indiana is a reason to go out and play. Last weekend the Goshen baseball team had plenty of chances to do so; in fact, they played six games, winning two.
The final pair of games was perhaps the most important, as Goshen traveled to Fort Wayne on Tuesday to open Mid-Central Conference play with a doubleheader at Saint Francis.
The host Cougars were victorious in both ends of the twinbill: Chris Howell, a senior, fired a three-hit game for a 3-1 win in the opener before USF (6-13, 2-0) pounded out ten hits in a 9-4 second game.
Andy Swisher, a senior, had two hits in the first game for Goshen (7-10, 0-2). Three players tied for Goshen’s team lead with two hits in the nightcap.
Sunday afternoon, the Leafs wrapped up a four-game, two-day stretch with a split doubleheader at Purdue North Central. Designated hitter Paxson Miller, a sophomore, and first baseman Jose Andrade, a first-year each knocked in a pair of runs. Goshen led 4-0 after 3½ innings before the Peregrines closed the gap to 6-5, but an insurance run in the seventh wrapped up a 7-5 Goshen win in the first game.
In the second game, Purdue North Central’s bats would not be held to five runs. In fact, PNC managed 17 baserunners in the first two innings en route to a 13-2 lead: their advantage was 18-3 after three frames. Goshen mounted a comeback to make the final score 18-11, capping their at-bats with a six-run sixth inning. Garrett Cannizzo, a senior, was 4-for-4 in the second game, scoring three times and driving in four.
Saturday afternoon, the Maple Leafs took an early 3-0 lead in the second game of a doubleheader with Lourdes with a Cannizzo three-run homer. A single from Arick Armington, a sophomore, followed: he scored on a triple by Andy Swisher, a senior. Swisher scored on a groundout to cap a five-run first.
That was enough of a cushion for Matt Austin. In his first career start, the sophomore scattered five baserunners in seven innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out four to earn a doubleheader split.
In the opener, Armington and junior Caleb Yoder each had two hits, but the Maple Leafs were only able to get seven hits overall and fell 15-5. C.J. Superczynski, a sophomore, went 5 2/3 innings in relief, facing 36 batters and throwing 103 pitches in order to rest the remainder of the Goshen bullpen. It was the beginning of a long weekend for the left-hander: he pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief during the first game Sunday, then returned for 2/3 of an inning in game two.
Goshen returns to action with six games in three doubleheaders this week. This afternoon, the Leafs host Saint Francis for a 2 p.m. first pitch. Saturday and Tuesday will see Goshen taking on No. 25 Taylor, with a 1 p.m. first pitch Saturday in Goshen and a 2 p.m. start on Tuesday in Upland.
By Tony Miller, Sports Editor
Shane Miller, Contributing Writer