Due to inclement weather the series opener took place on Saturday, March 24th for a doubleheader at Hicks Field in Westville. Unfortunately, PNC's late inning rally in game one forced extra innings but wasn't enough to hold down the strong offense of St. Francis.
Senior Shane Prance went the distance in the extra inning game giving up six runs (5 earned), on no walks, one hit batter and 14 hits (12 singles) while striking out seven. However, the Panthers defense committed two errors and left eight men on base as they fell 6-4.
Seniors Nate Hall and Jeff Strbjak along with freshman second baseman Eddie Moldenhauer each had three hits as PNC pounded out 14 hits of their own. Strbjak had two RBI while Moldernhauer had another and junior Ched Gaskin added a run scoring double. Freshman Cody Jansen contributed a double for PNC.
In the second game the Panthers late inning rally came up short in 7-4 loss. Senior Tony Hoolehan (1-3) struggled on the mound going six innings and giving up seven runs (6 earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out four. Junior Mike Bradley gave up one hit and struck out one in a scoreless inning in relief.
Hall and junior Brad Dubios (3B) each had two hits with Hall adding an RBI on a double. Junior Greg Toliver had two RBI and sophomore Kevin Gates had the other. The Panthers only had six base hits in the game.
In the third game of the series played in Joliet on Sunday, March 25th, the Panther's bullpen struggled, allowing St. Francis to pull away late for a 9-2 win. It was 3-2 with two outs in the seventh before the Saints tacked on three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings for the final margin.
Freshman Dan Snyder got the nod and cruised through 6.2 innings. Snyder's line ended up being six runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out four. In the bottom of the seventh Snyder was removed from the game after getting into a two out jam with bases loaded. Fellow freshman Jordan Polito came in relief giving up a bases clearing double. Junior Chuck Myers came in relief getting the final out in the inning, but gave up 3 more runs on four hits in the eighth. Freshman Andy Jones recorded the final three outs for the Panthers, giving up a walk.
The offense put together seven hits with Junior Rich Meyers, Willis, and Hall each having two hits each and Strbjak picking up both RBI's. All hits by the Panthers were singles.
The Panthers are now 10-16 overall and 3-5 in the CCAC. PNC looks to rebound on Tuesday when they host Concordia (MI) in a non-conference doubleheader.