KNOXVILLE, TN – Playing in a seven-inning doubleheader, the Crusaders came up big, with a 6-4 come-from-behind win in game one, while coming up just shy in a 6-3 game two loss, against Johnson University on Wednesday afternoon.
The Crusaders singled in their first two at-bats of game one, and loaded the bases several minutes later before junior outfielder Caleb Rost (Greenville, S.C.) capitalized with his second RBI of the season, driving in freshman Caleb Prigge (Watertown, WI), for a quick 2-0 lead.
Johnson bounced right back with four runs in the bottom of the first, for a 4-2 lead, but would fail to score for the rest of the game, courtesy of freshman pitcher Adam Courtney (Guthrie Center, IA), and excellent defensive play.
Courtney kept the team in position for a rally, retiring seven straight batters at one point, and striking out three batters. “I was a little rusty in the first inning, not having pitched for three years, but was able to settle in and find a comfort zone,” Courtney later stated.
Inspired by the defensive dominance, Maranatha’s offense, had some big plays of their own, chopping the lead down to 4-3, on a single RBI by Prigge, his second hit of the game.
Freshman outfielder Jed Hedlund (Santa Maria, CA) continued the inevitable rally, and was a key contributor, going 3-3 in the game. Hedlund singled with two outs in the fourth inning that led to the team’s third run, and in the seventh inning, ignited the team with another single.
“As a team, we needed to gets some hits going, but the main thing is we all had fun. I was very thankful I had the chance to play,” Hedlund stated.
Prigge, who also finished 3-3 from the plate, teamed up with outfielder, Cody Borland, to tie the game at three apiece, and sophomore shortstop Tim Rogers (Willmar, MN) delivered the game-winning run, and Maranatha accumulated three runs.
The Crusaders had 11 hits compared to Johnson’s four, and walked while committing just two errors the whole game.
Johnson grabbed game two on a two-run 1st and three-run fourth. Freshman Micah Burdett (Newnan, GA) tripled in the fourth inning to get the Crusaders on the board, and Hedlund capped a three-run inning, vaulting Maranatha into a 3-2 lead.
Johnson would go on to score three more runs in the same inning, with freshman Caleb Courtney (Guthrie Center, IA) taking the loss. Courtney allowed just seven hits, and struck one.
Burdett finished the game 2-4 from the plate.
Maranatha closes out their spring break trip with a game against Hiawasee College, at 1:00 p.m. EST, on Thursday.