The No. 1-seeded Indiana Tech baseball team took a 1-0 series lead in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament Championship Series Monday evening as they defeated No. 3-seeded Madonna, 5-4, at Warrior Field.
In an inauspicious start for both teams, which saw the first three half-inning begin with errors in the leadoff batter, the Crusaders would be the first side to break through as Matt Deneau sent one over the center field wall in the fourth to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Tech responded with a pair of runs in the fifth after Dante Biagini led off the frame with a hit-by-pitch on the first throw of the inning. A bunt single from Reese Olden and an error on a grounder from Matt Bandor allowed Biagini to score two batters later while Bobby Bennett drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs to score Olden and knot the game up at 2-2.
The Warriors took advantage of the leadoff man reaching base one inning later as Dominic Giuliani drew a full count walk and came around to score on a single from Olden to give the Orange and Black their first lead of the game, while Bandor knocked in Biagini with a single to left in the next at-bat to give the hosts a 4-2 lead.
Nate McBroom responded to getting the lead by getting out of a two-out two-man-on jam in the seventh with his fifth strikeout of the game to keep the Warrior lead at 5-2 heading into the final two innings of play. Madonna pushed across single runs in the eighth and ninth, and had the winning-run at the plate with two outs in the ninth, but Joe Pratt got Jimmy White to ground out to Glen McClain on the first pitch of the at-bat to close the door on the Crusaders for the crucial game one victory.
McBroom improved to 7-3 on the season after scattering nine hits over seven innings and allowing just two earned runs. Pratt notched his fifth save of the season after going the final two innings with a pair of strikeouts. Bandor went 3-4 with an RBI at the dish while Olden was 2-5 with two runs.
Tech (42-17) returns to action Tuesday as they look to win their first WHAC Tournament Title since the 2013 season with potentially two games against Madonna. Game two of the WHAC Championship Series is set to begin at 3 p.m. from Warrior Field, while the if-necessary game three would take place approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game two.