JOLIET, Ill. — It was an historic day for the Olivet Nazarene University baseball team as senior closer Kevin Lasowski (Schererville, Ind.) broke the single season saves record in game two of a doubleheader against the University of St. Francis (Ill.). The Tigers took both games from the Saints on the road with great pitching performances from lefty Paul Griffin (Pekin, Ill.) in game one and Steven Beckham (Mt. Vernon, Ill.) in game two. ONU allowed only four hits in a 6-1 win in game one and scored six unanswered runs in a 6-2 win in game two. The Tigers have won seven of the their last nine games.
An explosive five-run first inning for the Tigers (15-10, 4-2) in game one was all they would need to claim the win over the Saints (14-12, 4-2). The first three batters loaded the bases, and eventually Matt Davenport (Swayzee, Ind.) brought home the first run on walk. Lasowski grounded out to second but scored Adrian Perez (Chicago, Ill.). Josh Altmann (Homer Glen, Ill.) then singled, scored two more runs and eventually scored himself on wild pitch for the fifth run. In the next half inning, the Saints put a run on the board when Brad Porter singled to score Brandon Mendoza. ONU responded with their sixth and final run of the game when Ryan Kern (Bloomington, Ill.) brought home Justin Fahy (Fargo, N.D.) on a ground out. In the final five innings, only five combined hits were allowed.
The Tigers game one starter was senior lefty Paul Griffin (1-2). Griffin took the ball for the fourth time this season and threw a complete game for the second time in 2013. He allowed one run off four hits, walked four and struck out five.
The starter for St. Francis was Jacob Butler (2-3), who went four innings, allowed all six runs off eight hits and walked four batters. Charlie Ludolph pitched the final two innings and struck out four.
For the Tigers, Daniel Schneider (West Salem, Wis.) went 3-for-3 with one run. Altmann went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run. Three other Tigers each had a hit, and four others scored runs.
Similar to game one, the Tigers received a solid performance on the mound by junior Steven Beckham (4-1) who almost went the distance, throwing 8 2/3 innings, allowing both Saint runs off six hits, striking out three. Senior closer Kevin Lasowski forced a fly ball in a 1/3 inning of work to receive the save, his seventh of the year and 14th of his career, also a Tiger record.
For the Saints, Kyle Cunningham (2-2) gave up five runs off five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Rick Faron pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up one hit, Chris Robinson pitched an inning, and Chris Blatti gave up the Tiger’s final run in the eighth.
After two innings in game two, neither team had scored and only one hit was allowed. In the top of the third, the Saints finally got on the board when Jesse Gregurich hit a two-run shot to score Cody Columbus. ONU had their turn in the bottom of the inning and took advantage. Fahy tripled, scoring Josh Altmann who had singled earlier in the inning. Beckham held the Saints scoreless in the fourth and gave the Tigers a chance in the fourth. Ryan Kern connected on his fourth home run of the season to tie the game. Once again, Beckham did his job, and this time Olivet added to their side of the scoreboard. Schneider singled to score Madison Foster (Indianapolis, Ind.) and, with two outs, Kern singled to bring home Schneider and Fahy to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead. From that point on, the ONU pitchers allowed only two more hits. But in the eighth, the purple and gold added an insurance run off the bat of Lasowski when he hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Perez.
For the Tigers, Kern went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one run. Altmann had two hits and one run scored. Fahy, Schneider and Perez each had a hit and a run scored.
Tim Reichert had two hits for the Saints, and Jesse Gregurich went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and one run.
ONU will play a doubleheader on the road against conference opponent Roosevelt University (Ill.) tomorrow starting at 1 p.m.