Baseball: Dan Kienzle delivers in extras for Nazareth
Updated: May 5, 2012 7:29PM
Nazareth junior Dan Kienzle hasn’t had many opportunities to play this season because of an injury.
He made the most of his chance Saturday, however.
After entering the game in the top of the eighth inning, Kienzle delivered a two-out, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the frame to give Nazareth a 2-1 victory in the first game of an East Suburban Catholic Conference doubleheader against Notre Dame.
“I was kind of shocked at first, but it felt good because it was a big conference win,” said Kienzle, who had just two plate appearances prior to Saturday. “If we want to reach our goal of winning conference and being at the top, we really needed this win. It felt great to help my team out. I knew before the inning that I was going to get my chance and I just made the most of it.”
Nazareth (21-3) won the second game 4-2 to complete the sweep and improve to 6-2 in the ESCC.
The Roadrunners entered the day tied for third in the conference behind Marist (8-0) and Joliet Catholic (7-1).
“We try not to look at the standings and try and play one pitch at a time,” Nazareth coach Lee Milano said. “That’s the approach we should be taking in every game.”
Kyle Piotrowski (4-0) picked up the victory in the opener in relief of Dominic Purpura, who pitched seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits and picked four runners off base.
Piotrowski allowed one hit in one inning.
Nazareth led 1-0 on an RBI groundout by Purpura after a single by Piotrowski and double by Jake Bartels in the second inning. Notre Dame (11-18, 3-9 in ESCC) tied the game at 1-1 in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Danny Hyde. The Dons could’ve had a bigger inning, but had two runners picked off by the left-handed Purpura.
Kevin Stahmer and Ryan Czachor both had two hits in the loss.
“We didn’t put the ball in play when we should’ve and didn’t put a lot of pressure on the defense,” Notre Dame coach Nelson Gord said. “We made quite a few base-running mistakes, which has kind of been our Achilles’ heel.”
Nazareth sophomore Pete Minella earned the victory in the second game, making his varsity debut.
He pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out five and walking three.
“He came up (to varsity) and did a great job,” Milano said. “He gave us four-plus innings. He was a little nervous to start, but he gave us innings that we certainly needed.”
Tim Dal Porto, who had two hits in the opener, had an RBI double in the first inning for the Roadrunners, while Sean Maloney drove in a run with a groundout and Mike Stromberg had a big two-out, two-RBI single in the second inning to account for Nazareth’s runs.
Stahmer had an RBI single and Hyde a sacrifice fly to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead in the first inning.