St. Michael scored two runs in the sixth inning to score a 5-3 win over Notre Dame in a contest featuring two of the state’s top-ranked baseball programs Monday at Miller Stadium in Crowley.
St. Michael (12-6) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
Kyle Fontenot led off the game with a single through the right side and eventually scored on Michael Smith’s one-out RBI single. The Warriors’ second run came after Nolan Tiersch laid down a one-out safety squeeze bunt, allowing Dwain Varisco, who reached on an error, to come home.
The Warriors added to their lead in the top half of the third inning. A double to left field by Varisco was followed by an RBI triple by St. Michael catcher Ross Scelfo.
But Notre Dame starter Joe Faulk got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
The Pioneers (11-8-1) knotted things up in the fourth.
Jacob Vicknair got the hit party started for the Pios by singling to left. Sam Hoffpauir then doubled, giving Notre Dame runners at second and third with no outs. Pete Brown singled up the middle, allowing the Pios to score.
The three straight hits to begin the frame put an end to St. Michael starter Evan Becnel’s day.
Nick Hanks continued the hit barrage with an RBI single off of new Warrior pitcher Cayde Miller. After a groundout, Notre Dame DH Thomas Stevens singled to tie the game.
But Notre Dame was unable to do any further damage as Miller tip-toed out of danger by forcing a pop up and ground ball to retire the side.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when St. Michael broke the stalemate. The Warriors scratched two runs on two hits, with the game-winner coming on Ben Steib’s two-run single to left-center field.
After the fourth inning, Miller did not give up another hit. The only Pio baserunners over the final three innings came via two walks and a hit by pitch.
St. Michael coach Johnny Bernhard couldn’t say enough about the job Miller out of the bullpen.
“We have a lot of confidence in Cayde,” he said. “He came into a very tough situation with runners on first and second with nobody out. He made pitches and executed to get out us out of the jam.”
With the win, Miller improved to 2-2.
Despite the loss, Notre Dame starter Joe Faulk pitched well enough to win. He struck out eight in six innings.
Jacob Vicknair and Pete Brown each picked up two hits.
The Pios will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to North Vermilion. St. Michael’s next contest comes Wednesday when they host U-High.