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College Baseball: Trinity Christian knocked out by Holy Cross in CCAC Tournament

Updated: May 6, 2014 9:41PM



A repeat of history?

It wasn’t meant to be for Trinity Christian.

Seeking to advance to the championship game of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament out of the bottom half of the bracket for the second straight year, the Trolls instead were ousted by Holy Cross 10-4 on Tuesday at Judson’s Hoffer Field.

The Trolls (26-20) trailed 8-0 just four innings in. With six errors, it clearly wasn’t their day in Elgin.

“We didn’t show up in any phases of the game. It was probably one of our worst games of the year,” Trolls coach Justin Huisman said. “Unfortunately, it came here.”

In 2013, Trinity Christian dropped its first tournament game, then came back to take second en route to the program’s first berth in the NAIA World Series opening round.

The Trolls stayed alive this week by beating No. 1 seed St. Francis 12-3 Monday. The momentum didn’t carry over.

Jacob Lanning doubled in a Holy Cross run in the first inning, and knocked in two more with a double in the third.

Lanning, also the winning pitcher, struck out five over eight innings, getting sparkling defense behind him from shortstop Darwing Ereu.

A diving stop by Ereu on a grounder in the hole for the game’s final out was a lasting snapshot of his glove work.

“I was just focusing on throwing strikes,” said Lanning, who transferred in after two years at Kankakee Community College. “Putting up runs early helped. My swing’s been inconsistent lately to say the least but I just stayed loose and had fun.”

The Saints (23-32), making their first CCAC tourney appearance, scored four runs in the fourth to blow things open.

Holy Cross needed a Michael Pizzuto walk-off single to advance past Olivet Nazarene Monday. No heroics necessary here.

“We came out, got on the board first and it gave us a lift,” Saints coach Brian Blondell said. “This is an exciting opportunity, an exciting time for our college. We feel we’re not done yet.”

Mark Munizzi’s RBI single got Trinity Christian on the board in the fifth, and Brad Kopale added a solo homer in the seventh. Steve Brewer later doubled in a run.

Kopale and Joe McCaw each had two of the Trolls’ 11 hits.

“It’s tough. We tried to take the approach of chip away, chip away,” Huisman said. “Each inning that goes by is a heartbreak.”

It was a bittersweet tourney finish in a season that’s seen Trinity Christian set a program record with 25 regular-season wins.

“I’m super-proud of the season these guys have had,” Huisman said. “We still have some more baseball left; unfortunately it won’t be in the NAIA Tournament.”

Chris Woodruff was 4-for-4 for Holy Cross, which banged out 14 hits. Holy Cross will play Judson at 2 p.m. Wednesday.



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