MONMOUTH — Mitch Lorenz found himself in an unenviable position in the seventh inning of a key Mountain Valley Conference contest.

Alex Curtis had refused to bite on the sliders Lorenz tried feeding him. So with Monmouth’s cleanup hitter representing the winning run and down in the count, 3-0, Lorenz went to his fastball, despite the fact that Curtis had been pulverizing nearly every heater he’d seen recently.

Lorenz battled back to a full count, then climbed the ladder and got Curtis to swing and miss at a high fastball to give St. Dom’s, ranked at the top of the Western C Heal Points, a big win and hand Monmouth its first defeat of the season.

The junior southpaw allowed at least one base runner in every inning yet held down a Monmouth offense averaging 13 runs a game for a complete game, 5-3 win on Wednesday.

“I got him back with a few fastballs. He hit a few foul balls and I got the last one up for a high heater,” Lorenz said. “This was a big game, our biggest one yet because they’re undefeated.”

An error and infield hit by Hunter Richardson put the tying runs on with one out. St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman visited the mound for a chat, then Lorenz (eight hits, four strikeouts, two walks, one intentional) got Kyle Fletcher to fly out to center on one pitch.

During Curtis’ previous time up, in the fifth, the Saints intentionally walked him even though he represented the potential tying run with one out. The move paid off as the next batter, Jariah Caissie, lined into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.

Blackman visited the mound again after Fletcher flied out to remind Lorenz Curtis could be dangerous, but also told him that the outfield would be playing back to prevent a potential tying extra base hit.

The message was clear — be careful, but don’t give in.

“Even if we had walked him to load the bases, we still would have felt OK going up against the next guy in that situation,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman said. “But Mitch beared down and elevated that last fastball to get above his hands and he didn’t catch up with it.”

“We had the guys in the order we wanted up,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “I figured if we got to Alex, we had a pretty good shot. That’s the game of baseball, a couple of breaks either way. This was the kind of game you expect from St. Dom’s.”

Ryan Harvey led the Saints with three hits. Richardson had a pair of hits to lead the Mustangs (7-1).

The game started out on a see-saw, with each team scoring a run in its half of the first two innings for a 2-2 tie.

The Saints broke loose against Monmouth starter Nate Gagne with a three-run fourth, It started with the Mustangs’ lone error on a one-out grounder to third. A walk by Dillon Pratt and single by Harvey loaded the bases.

Ray Mosca scored the go-ahead run on Matt Keaney’s grounder to short. The Mustangs tried to turn two but instead got nothing because the second baseman was ruled to be off the bag when receiving the throw, keeping the bases juiced. Pratt came home on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.

With Monmouth’s infield playing in and Wilson on in relief, Dostie hit a chopper to second and was thrown out at first. Keaney got into a rundown between second and third and stayed in it long enough for Harvey to score and inflate the margin to 5-2 before he was tagged out to end the inning.

The Mustangs got a run back in the bottom of the frame on Brett Wilson’s RBI single. Fletcher shut out the Saints over the final three innings.

Lorenz gave up at least one hit in every inning but none for extra bases. The Saints’ errorless defense after the second inning, including a fine leaping grab at short by Dostie to end the third, helped him minimize the damage.

“We just made sure everybody stayed focused,” Lorenz said. “Dostie stepped up with a couple of good plays, and that got everybody’s hopes up.”


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