OTTAWA — Opponents might get the Marquette baseball club down, but it sure is tough to keep it there.
The Crusaders spotted visiting Seneca leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 5-4 in the first three and a half innings, but broke open a 5-5 tie with seven runs in a decisive fourth. That allowed the Cru to leave Masinelli Field with a 15-5, six-inning victory over the Irish and their perfect season — now 16-0 — intact.
Eight of the nine players in the MA order collected at least one of the team's 13 hits, two of those each by Luke Couch, Logan Komater, Bryce Foster, Zach Dyche and Michael Killelea, against Seneca freshman starter Gage Cryder and two other Irish pitchers. Also, Hunter McAlpine drove in three runs and pitched a scoreless inning of relief for winning hurler Max Mitchell, who surrendered all five SHS runs but got stronger as the game went on, only one tally coming in the final three innings.
"The kids did well. ... We kept swinging, putting the ball into play," said Marquette coach Todd Hopkins. "Max settled in in the third, fourth and fifth, then Hunter came in and did a good job. ... Their kid (Cryder) threw a good game. I like him. He's going to be a good one, throws hard, has a good curve. ... Still, we're going to have to play better. We can't make the mistakes we made tonight."
Seneca, now 5-8 after its fifth straight loss, used RBI singles by Myles Mitchell and Ashton Harty to go up 2-0 in the first, but the Cru answered with three runs in its half, one on a balk and two others on bases-loaded walks to Killelea and McAlpine.
Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Uriah Tobolsky and Sam Grushkin regained the SHS edge, but MA tied it in the on McAlpine's RBI grounder and a double steal with Killelea scoring on a delayed theft by Kyle Cook. An unearned run in the top of the fourth gave SHS the lead yet again before the roof fell in.
An error, a hit batsman and a two-run triple by Bryce Foster started it. A run-scoring single by Killelea chased Cryder for Brody McNabb, but a wild pitch and an RBI triple by Jack Snook, RBI double by Cook and RBI single by Couch capped the decisive outburst.
Another McAlpine RBI highlighted a two-run fifth off SHS pitcher Avery Othon, and Dyche's run-scoring bouncer ended it in the sixth.
"I'm not going to take anything away from Marquette. That's very well-coached team, but I feel that Seneca beat Seneca tonight," said Irish coach Kirk Houchin. "I was very happy we came out with the energy, jumping on them for a lead and Gage Cryder was pitching well, but then we just decided to start giving things away. Way too many walks, way too many unearned runs and errors, missed signs, we just made a lot of mistakes. Against bad teams, you can't make that many of those kinds of mistakes, but against a good team like this, we just gift-wrapped too many things for them.
"Maybe when we got the lead and were doing well here, I don't know if it was pressure or what, but all the sudden the routine things weren't routine anymore. ... We started waiting for something bad to happen instead of making something good happen."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Marquette 15, Seneca 5 (6 inn.)
SENECA (5) — Altman cf 4-0-2-0, Tobolsky c 2-0-0-1, Grushkin ss 2-1-0-1, Mitchell 1b 3-0-1-1, Harty 3b 3-0-2-1, Newkirk dh 3-0-1-0, McNabb rf-p 0-0-0-0, Othen p 0-0-0-0, Aldrich lf 2-0-0-0, Baudino cr-lf 0-0-0-0, Cryder p-rf 3-1-1-0, Underhill cr-rf 0-0-0-0,Sangston 2b 3-2-2-0. Totals 25-5-9-4.
MARQUETTE (15) — Na. Melvin ss 5-0-0-0, Couch 2b 3-3-2-1, Komater cf 4-2-2-0, Foster 3b 5-2-2-2, Dyche c 3-4-2-1, Killelea 1b 3-2-2-2, McAlpine dh-p 3-0-1-3, Mitchell p 0-0-0-0, Snook rf 4-1-1-1, Cook lf 3-1-1-1. Totals 33-15-13-11.
Seneca (5-8) 220 100 — 5 9 4
Marquette (16-0) 302 721 — 15 13 4
LOB - Seneca 7, Marquette 8. 2B - Cook. 3B - Foster, Snook. SF - Tobolsky, Grushkin. SB - Altman, Aldrich, Killelea, Cook. HBP - Komater (by Cryder), Dyche (by Othen).
Seneca ip r er h bb k
Cryder (L) 3.0 10 7 6 6 4
McNabb 1.0 2 2 3 0 2
Othen 1.2 3 0 4 0 2
Mitchell (W) 5.0 5 4 8 3 4
McAlpine 1.0 0 0 1 0 1