PRINCETON — The Ottawa Marquette Crusaders defeated the Princeton Tigers one run at a time in the first half of a twinbill on Saturday and then doubled their pleasure in the nightcap, defeating the Tigers by scores of 5-1 and 10-1.
“The bats are still quiet,” Princeton coach Tim Taylor said. “If we don’t hit the ball, we can’t score runs, and we’re not hitting the ball well. Too many of us are popping up or watching the strike go by. We just have to get through the order with everybody getting the bat on the ball.”
The Tigers scattered 13 hits over the two games, seven in the opener and six in the nightcap. The Tigers; offense was paced by senior Sam Schlesinger, who was 3 for 5 on the afternoon with two stolen bases. Juniors Austin Schindel and Nick Rolando chipped in with a hit in each game while sophomore Isaiah Taylor collected two knocks in the nightcap including the Tigers’ only extra base hit of the day when he stroked a double in to lead off the game.
In addition to the scattered and inconsistent hitting, the Tigers gave up a number of outs on the base paths.
“I’ll take one of those,” Taylor said. “I sent Matt home, I thought it was deeper. That one is 100 percent on coach Taylor,” he said, referring to a play with nobody out and the Tigers down by four in the bottom of the sixth inning in the first game.
With Matt Hayes on second base, Nick Rolando singled sharply up the middle. Taylor sent Hayes home only to find him thrown out without a slide. This was but one of a number of outs the Tigers made on the basepaths, which included pick-offs, caught stealing and unnecessary rundowns.
In the first game, the Crusaders used good fundamental offensive baseball — advancing runners and coming through with timely hits — to score single runs in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. Taylor and Matt Hayes were the unfortunate pitchers without sufficient support, Taylor being saddled with the loss.
In the nightcap, the Crusaders doubled their output, scoring two runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings while plating four in the fifth. This time they banged out 13 hits against Tiger pitchers Caleb Dickens and Kyle Arnette. Dickens suffered the loss.
Taylor points to the outfield defense and improved pitching as bright spots on the afternoon. Jack Click made a stellar play in the in right field in the second game, making a catch on an all out dive to turn a ball that was headed for the gap into an out. It definitely will earn a nomination for the top web gem of the season. Caleb Dickens added a couple of diving stops of his own at third base.
“I gotta tell ya, Jack Click did a nice job for us in the outfield, Sam Schlesinger came through in the outfield when we needed him to be on a couple. Caleb Dickens came out and started a nice second game. I was really proud of him for doing that in his first start,” he said.