FORT WAYNE, Ind — The Goshen College baseball team saw stellar pitching performances correlate with only one victory this past Friday and Monday as the Leafs dropped two out of three games against the University of Saint Francis at the newly renovated Ashe Center.
Braedon Evans, a sophomore, took the ball for the Leafs in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader to virtually shut down the Cougars through the first six innings of play. Evans was nipped for one run in the third by way of a triple and a sacrifice fly. The Maple Leafs answered right back in the top of the fourth with a run of their own off a single by Brad Stoltzfus to bring in Cody McCoy.
Evans went on to retire 11 of the next 13 Cougars, giving time for the Goshen offense to produce in top of the seventh inning. Ben Longacre, a sophomore, led off the final frame with one of his now seemingly routine doubles before Clinton Stroble, a junior, and Ryan Hartig, a senior, walked to load the bases. Colby Malson and Kody McGuire, sophomores, took one for the team with a pair of hit-by pitches to score Stroble and Hartig.
Just minutes later, USF received its final chance to tie or take the lead and, to the tune of three straight hits, tied the game at 3-3. Goshen called upon Colton Daniel, a sophomore, to keep the game tied, but a Leaf fielding error and a wild pitch allowed the Cougars to take game one 4-3.
Travis Grimm started game two for the Maple Leafs on the mound. Much like game one, the Cougars struck first by scoring one run in the bottom of the first due to three Grimm walks. Grimm, a senior from Muskegon, Michigan, settled in quite nicely after the first inning blunder as he went on to hold the Cougars hitless through five innings of play. Despite Grimm’s superb showing on the mound, Goshen was unable to register a run until the final inning of play. The Maple Leafs scored five runs on two hits and no errors. The big hit came from pinch hitter Brighton Schofield, a first-year, as he tripled to right field to bring in three runs. Malson came in relief in the bottom of the ninth to close the game. He allowed no hits and faced the minimum three batters to close the door and secure a game two victory 5-1. Grimm finished the afternoon hurling eight innings, allowing just one run on two hits and seven strikeouts. The Grimm victory earned the senior Maple Leaf Athlete of the Week honors and puts him just one win away from cracking the top-10 for wins in a career with 12.
Game three of the series came on Monday due to inclement weather on the originally scheduled Saturday affair. After the first four innings, the Maple Leafs had an early advantage 4-3, but the Cougars took the lead after the fifth inning when they scored four runs on five hits and no errors to make the score 7-4. Goshen answered back with one run in the top of sixth, but the Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to maintain the lead 10-5. The Cougars scored two more runs in the bottom of the eighth and went on to win the game 12-5.
After the series, the Maple Leafs sit at 10-14 overall and 2-4 in Crossroads League play. The Maple Leafs will be back in action again on Friday when they take on Grace College at home. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.