The Lincoln University baseball team climbed above .500 by sweeping Christendom College, 13-3 and 14-9 in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
In improving their record to 11-10, the Lions continued to add to their school-record victory total. This is the first time in Lincoln baseball history that the team has reached double digits in victories according to baseball records dating back to 1970.
The Lions received several strong performances to conclude their week with a 4-1 record. In the opening game, Matt Sample struck out 11 batters and allowed one earned run to raise his record to 6-3 and lower his earned run average to 3.16. It was Sample's second consecutive double-digit strikeout game and his fourth time fanning 10 or more batters in a game. Sample has 74 strikeouts to lead Lincoln.
Sample was also a force with the bat in the opening game. Sample was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and runs batted in. Peter Fisher was 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs batted in. Vince Curtis stole three bases scored three runs, drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to six games. Joe Kruemmer and Ruben Sanchez scored two runs each.
The Lions struck early by scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Lions got RBI hits from Kruemmer, Sanchez, Duane Wyse, Sample and Fisher to open a 6-0 lead after one inning. After Christendom responded with two runs in the top of second inning, Lincoln scored the next seven runs before the Crusaders added a tally in the top of the fifth inning. The Lions did take advantage of eight Christendom wild pitches.
Christendom's John Mercandetti had two hits and a pair of runs for the Crusaders in the opening game.
The second game belonged to Cuff, who finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Sample added two hits and stole five bases. Kruemmer, Sanchez, Sample, Fisher and pinch-runner Michael Loving scored two runs each for Lincoln. Curtis added a pair of RBI's to conclude his five-game week with 11 RBIs. Making his first career start, Michael Greenwood was the winning pitcher. He tossed five solid innings and struck out four batters. Lincoln stole 15 bases in the second game with Sample (five) and Fisher combining for eight swipes.
After falling behind the Crusaders, 3-0 in the second game, Lincoln rallied by scoring 14 of the next 15 runs to open a 14-4 lead after four innings. Lincoln chipped away at its three-run deficit by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Lions took control of the second game by scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning. Christendom committed three errors, had three passed balls, one wild pitch and one balk to help Lincoln get its five runs. Also in the bottom of the second inning, Sample stole home on a straight steal.
Lincoln added to its advantage in the third inning by scoring seven runs. The highlight of the inning was Darnell Walker's perfectly executed squeeze bunt play that scored Curtis. Also in the third inning, Curtis and Greenwood delivered RBI singles for the Lions. Following the third inning, Christendom pitcher Stephen Fusselman silenced Lincoln's bats.
The Crusaders tried to battle back, but their rally fell short. Adam Marchad, who drove in four runs, had a three-run triple in the top of the seventh inning for Christendom. Also driving in a pair of runs for the Crusaders was Matt Roche.
Lincoln returns to action Thursday afternoon when it travels to Widener University for a 3:00 p.m. start. The Lions will be back in action at home on Sunday April 9 when they host St. Mary's (Md.) College in a doubleheader (1 p.m.).