HAMMOND, Ind. – The Purdue University Northwest baseball team used a high powered comeback effort to defeat IU South Bend, 11-10, in Game 1, before dropping the nightcap 16-15 to the Titans.
The Pride (18-14, 11-6 CCAC) connected on four home runs on the day, including 13 extra base hits to combine for 26 total runs on the day.
Freshmen Tyler Kenjic (Hobart, Ind./Hobart), Jono Bigger (Roselawn, Ind./North Newton) and junior Jonny Albers (Waterloo, Ill./Waterloo) all connected on their first career home runs, with Alec Skalka (Munster, Ind./Munster) earning his second career homer, his first being of inside the park fashion during the fall season.
Bigger, Kenjic, Austin Kordik (West Chicagon, Ill./West Chicago) and Larry Crisler (Gary, Ind./Bishop Noll) all led the Pride with four hits on the day, with Kenjic recording seven RBI total.
Game 1: PNW 11, IUSB 10
The Pride jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Titans would answer back in the top of the third with an 8-run inning to take an 8-2 advantage.
The Titans would add two more runs in the top of the fourth frame, but the Pride would answer back with three runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to a 3-run homer from Albers which cut its deficit to 10-5.
The Pride would break the bats out in the bottom of the sixth, starting with a 2-run homer from Kenjic making it 10-7.
Luke Schmidt (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) would keep the inning alive with a 2-run double which plated Anthony Quintero (Griffith, Ind./Griffith) and Andrew Atchison (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) to put the Pride within one, 10-9.
Jono Bigger would put the exclamation mark on the inning with what would be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the sixth that plated Smith and put the Pride ahead 11-10.
Senior Matt Sandoval (Highland, Ind./Bishop Noll) would earn his second save of the season, shutting down the Titans in the seventh and giving the Pride the win.
Zac Hernandez (Hebron, Ind./Hebron) got the start for the Pride, allowing eight runs in 2.2 innings pitched while Fabian Del Real (Calumet City, Ill./T.F. North) picked up the win after throwing 3.1 innings on the mound, allowing two runs while striking out three.
Game 2: IUSB 16, PNW 15
After IUSB took a 5-2 advantage heading in to the third inning, the Pride battled back to take its first lead of the game, 6-5, thanks to back-to-back RBI-hits from Kordik and Kenjic.
The Titans would answer back to take a 9-6 advantage in the top of the fourth frame, but the Pride would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-8.
An RBI-groundout from Luke Schmidt followed by an RBI-double from Crisler helped the Pride retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, 10-9.
IUSB would answer yet again with a five-run top of the sixth frame to go ahead 14-10, but an RBI-groundout from Kenjic followed by a solo homer from Skalka in the bottom of the seventh put the Pride within two, 14-12.
After the Titans added two more runs, the Pride looked to make another comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but just came up short as the Titans pulled away with the 16-15 win.
Alex Batistatos (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) got the start on the mound for the Pride, allowing nine runs, three earned, in five innings of work with five strikeouts.
Willie Bennet (Santee Calif./West Hills) then entered the game in relief, throwing 0.2 innings of work allowing five runs while Deven Smith (Royal Center, Ind./Pioneer) pitched 1.2 innings allowing one run on one hit.
Brody Kutch (La Porte, Ind./La Porte) finished the game for the Pride, allowing just one run in 1.2 innings of work while striking out two.
The Pride return to action Tuesday, Apr. 18, when they host Saint Xavier University in a CCAC doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. (CT).