What is Mount St. Joseph baseball coach Dave Norton’s biggest fear this season? One-run games.
The host Gaels lost their seventh — the most in Norton’s 31 years — when No. 7 Loyola rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning for an 8-7 victory Saturday in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game.
No. 12 Mount St. Joseph (10-9 overall, 5-5 in MIAA A) blew a 7-0 lead in the loss.
“When you have a seven-run lead, you certainly should be able to hold it,” Norton said. “We made multiple mistakes — walks, hit batters and errors [in seventh inning].”
Loyola (15-8, 6-4) scored three runs (two unearned) in the seventh with a lot of help from the Gaels, including two hits, two errors, a walk and a hit batter.
Stetson Cox started the scoring for the Dons by driving in Bruce Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly. James O’Malley scored on a fielder’s choice and senior third baseman Michael Wright knocked in Joe Dinoto — the winning run — with a two-out single to center field.
“I am not surprised we came back,” said Loyola sophomore pitcher Chris Girken, who hit a three-run homer in the Dons’ 4-3 victory over Archbishop Curley on Friday. “We have been hitting a lot lately. We are a team that, when we are down a lot, we usually come back at the very end.”
Girken (3-0, 1.20 ERA) helped Loyola to stay in the game, throwing four scoreless innings and giving up two hits while striking out four.
Loyola starter Mason Kapelanski, who came into the game with a 4-0 record and 0.95 ERA, fell into immediate trouble as the junior right-hander was charged with seven hits and six earned runs in three-plus innings.
Mount St. Joseph chased him in the fourth inning when the Gaels scored three runs to boost their lead to 7-0.
Trevor Janoskie replaced Kapelanski with no one out in the fourth and the bases loaded, but Janoskie walked in two runs before being lifted for Girken.
Girken limited the damage by getting Josh Beglan to hit a sacrifice fly and Peter Solomon to line into a double play.
Loyola scored five runs in the sixth to knock Mount St. Joseph starting pitcher Kirk Haynes, a senior right-hander, out of the game. He allowed three unearned runs and four hits while striking out six and walking six.
Chris Harrison replaced Haynes for the Gaels, and he walked in two runs before giving up a third when he hit Loyola’s Eric McDonough with the bases loaded.
“This is an experienced team and the kids have been working hard all year,” Loyola coach Jim Crowley said. “They believe in themselves. We needed a couple of breaks to go our way, and we got a couple of walks and couple of hit batters. The next thing you know we are right back in it.”
Loyola Blakefield 8, Mount St. Joseph 7
Loyola 000 0053 – 8 7 2
MSJ 3013000 — 7 8 5
Haynes, Harrison (6), Campbell (6), Stoll (7) and Caporlette; Kapelanski, Janoskie (4), Girken (4) and Dinto. 2B: MSJ —Beglan, Solomon.