By Seth Wesman
Sports Information Intern
Box Scores: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Goshen College baseball team opened its Crossroads League schedule with a three-game sweep of the University of Saint Francis this past weekend, winning 10-6 and 6-3 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday at Grand Park to stretch its program-record winning streak to 11 consecutive games.
The weekend's first contest saw the Cougars (5-21-1) take an early 4-1 lead before Goshen (12-8, 3-0) broke out for three runs in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings to grab a 10-6 victory in a series that was moved from USF's campus to the neutral site due to field conditions. The sweep also propelled the Maple Leafs to a 3-0 start in league play for the fourth time in 46 seasons; the previous three hot starts came between 1990 and 1994.
Braedon Evans got the start for Goshen, allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. Travis Grimm and Spenser Triplett each worked an inning of relief for the Maple Leafs (12-8, 3-0) with 2 strikeouts apiece. Clinton Stroble II and Ryan Hartig led the offense with Stroble driving in a team-high 4 runs and Hartig adding 3 RBI. Brad Stoltzfus, Vincent Caschera and Colby Malson all drove in runs with Stoltzfus and Preston Carr each scored three times.
Saint Francis' Dane Hoffman went 3 2/3 innings in the start, surrendering 7 runs on 10 hits, with Noah Freimuth throwing the last 2 ⅓ innings. Kansas Varner drove in 3 runs with Cole Gerardot collecting the Cougars' other 2 RBIs.
Saturday's second game saw Saint Francis take a 1-0 lead in the second inning before Goshen took the lead with a pair of runs in the third. The Cougars tied the score in the fourth but the Leafs took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Saint Francis managed to close the gap to 3 with a run in the eighth but that was as close as the Cougars would get as the Leafs held on for a 6-3 win.
The contest was the first sign of a new Crossroads League series structure: rather than playing either two or four seven-inning games, teams play two nine-inning games and a seven-inning game, with two of the three combined as a doubleheader. The 9-inning regular-season conference game was Goshen's first since joining the league in 1970-71 and is believed to be the first in CL history.
Michael Walker started from the hill for the Leafs and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 5 in 7 innings to reach the 200-inning plateau for his career. Colton Daniel and Triplett finished the game with an inning apiece out of the bullpen, both striking out a pair of Cougars. Carr drove in a team-high 2 runs with Caschera, Malson and Cody McCoy each plating a run. Six different Leafs scored a run: McCoy leading Goshen with 3 hits.
Kyle DeKoninck threw 6 innings for Saint Francis before giving way to Ryan Tomlin for the remainder. Keaton Sullivan, Jordan Dickinson and Brady Harris all drove in a run apiece with Dickinson, Freimuth and Tanner Gaff all scoring a run.
Sunday's contest again saw Saint Francis jump out to an early lead as the Cougars held a 2-1 lead after the first inning.The teams would trade runs in the fourth before Goshen struck for a pair of runs in the fifth and an insurance run in the eighth to claim a 5-3 win.
Blake Collins took the win for Goshen with 3 runs allowed on 8 hits with a pair of strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Grimm got the next four outs with Malson closing out the final two frames to earn the save. Stroble led the offensive attack with 3 RBIs as Quinlan Armstrong and Austin Rook each drove one run apiece. Stoltzfus scored a team-high 2 runs with Carr, Hartig and Connor Clemens each scoring once.
Saint Francis sent four different pitchers to the mound with Chandlor Rivera taking the loss with 4 earned runs on 6 hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Freimuth, Varner and David Snider each drove in one of the Cougars' 3 runs with Freimuth, Sullivan and Dickinson all scoring a run.
Goshen will be back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Spring Arbor, Michigan, to play conference opponent Spring Arbor University in an afternoon doubleheader. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m.