Submitted by North Central College
After wiping out a pair of deficits, the stage was set for the baseball team to negate a third on Sunday at Carthage College, but a ninth-inning rally came up short and the Cardinals were denied a sweep in their three-game series with the Red Men as Carthage prevailed, 5-3.
Down to its final out, North Central (11-5, 2-1 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) got a pinch-hit single from Charlie Hern before Joe Turek drew a walk to put the tying run on first base. Carthage relief pitcher Mitch Lochen, however, got a groundout to close out a three-inning stint on the mound and end the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.
After North Central starting pitcher Ben Krusen and Carthage starter Andrew Arenson pitched shutouts for three innings, the Red Men (6-7, 1-2 CCIW) converted a leadoff single into the game's first run in the fourth. The Cardinals countered in the fifth with a run of their own, as Luke Waldier walked, advanced on a single by Sam Carius and wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
Carthage pulled ahead once again in the sixth, scoring on an error with two outs, but North Central rallied and took the lead in the top of the seventh. Alex Khourywas hit by a pitch and advanced on another single by Carius before scoring on Joe Paparone's sacrifice fly. Carius then stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and came home on Steve Hlavac's two-out base hit.
A two-out RBI double by Carthage shortstop Drew Bailey tied the score at 3-3 after seven innings, and the Red Men tacked on two runs on three hits in the eighth to pull ahead for the final time.
Krusen pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits.
North Central travels to face Augustana College (13-5, 1-2 CCIW) in a double header on Tuesday. Action at Swanson Stadium is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
The North Central College women's lacrosse team took the University of Puget Sound's best shots at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium Sunday evening, then pressed on and finished with a scoring surge that decked the Loggers, 18-11, and gave the Cardinals their second win of the season.
North Central (2-5) saw the Loggers trim a large early deficit to a single goal early in the second period, but closed the game by outscoring the visitors, 8-2, over the final 20 minutes to post its first win over Puget Sound in four attempts.
The Cardinals made their bid to put the game out of reach early by scoring the first six goals. Puget Sound (1-10) bounced back and closed the gap to 7-5 after scoring four unanswered goals in a 10-minute stretch. North Central's Danielle Fiala and Jacqui Morgan scored successive goals in the final two minutes, but the Loggers responded with two goals in the final 31 seconds to leave the halftime score at 9-7 in the hosts' favor.
Caroline Gully scored the initial goal of the second half, but the Loggers scored twice to cut North Central's lead to 10-9. The Cardinals began the decisive rally of the night with 20:02 to play as Mallory Bahr scored off a pass from Morgan. North Central then got successive goals from Morgan and Rachael Houp in an 18-second span to gain some breathing room.
North Central held the Loggers scoreless for the final 12:02, capping off the game with another goal from Bahr and two scores from Fiala.
Fiala scored a game-high five goals for the Cardinals, while Morgan tallied four goals and Gully finished with three. Shannon Prince collected five ground balls and caused five turnovers, while Alison Musur recorded four draw controls.
The Cardinals open Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference play on Tuesday, traveling to face Concordia University (Wis.) at 4 p.m.