Baseball: St Laurence edges Marist in Southside ChallengeMarist's starting pitcher Ryan Meyer throws against St. Laurence during the Southside Conference Challenge baseball game on Friday, Apr. 20, 2012 in Crestwood, Ill. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 21, 2012 2:02PM
Good pitching and solid defense.
St. Laurence has relied on that combination to dominate the competition this spring.
It was a recipe that proved successful on a frigid Friday night against Marist at the Southside Conference Challenge.
Mike Kornacker scattered seven hits and the Vikings defense was flawless during a 2-0 win over Marist at Standard Bank Stadium.
Kornacker walked one and struck out seven. The sophomore right-hander got stronger as the game progressed, allowing just one hit over the final four innings.
“Mike was tremendous tonight,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said. “We know he’s going to throw a bunch of strikes and the defense was very good. Pitching and defense has kept us in a lot of games so far.”
St. Laurence (20-1-1) scratched out a run in the fourth inning, compliments of a Marist error. With the bases loaded and two outs, Zach Lewis hit what appeared to be an inning-ending grounder. But shortstop Cody Bohanek misplayed the ball for an error, allowing Brad Wood to score for a 1-0 lead.
The rally started when Wood and Kornacker registered one-out singles and Kevin Smith coaxed a two-out walk to load the bases.
The Vikings pushed across an insurance run in the seventh. T.J. Marek was hit by a pitch and scored on a one-out double by Brandon Mallder for a 2-0 advantage.
Ryan Meyer was charged with the tough-luck loss for the RedHawks (14-5), despite allowing just five hits and striking out five over 6 1/3 innings.
Marist had chances to take control of the game early, but stranded seven runners on base the first three innings, including the bases loaded in the third.
Conor Funk was 2-for-3 for the RedHawks (14-5), who have been shutout their last two games.
“I felt like I really had to work hard the first three innings,” said Kornacker, who improved to 5-0. “I felt better as the game went on.”