Mount St. Joseph, fresh off a loss to Transylvania a week ago, would travel down I-75 on Tuesday night seeking revenge on the Pioneers.
The Lions would send the usual reliever Mike Hilliard (Loveland, OH / Clinton Massie) to the hill for the first start of his collegiate career. Hilliard would throw very well against Transylvania, going the first two innings of the game and giving up zero runs while striking out three Pioneers.
It soon became obvious that the strategy of the coaching staff would be to throw a bullpen game. Malik Zuberi (Cincinnati, OH / Lakota West) would follow Hilliard and throw the next three innings, also allowing zero runs. Zuberi would pick up the victory on the day. He would be followed by Ben Frizzell (Cincinnati, OH / LaSalle), who struggled a bit but was still able to hold Transy to just one run in his inning.
The remaining three innings would be a combination of Jacob Gunnell (Hamilton, OH / Fairfield), PJ Rideout (Cincinnati, OH / Winton Woods), and Matt Hofmann (Cincinnati, OH / Elder), respectively, with all three of those Lions working scoreless innings and slamming the door on the Transylvania offense.
The Mount St. Joseph offense resembled a powerful volcano on Tuesday evening. The Lion attack lay dormant for the first two innings of the game, scoring zero runs and working only two men on-base. Then it happened.
Mount St. Joseph erupted in the third inning. The first nine men who came to bat for the Lions in the third inning reached base safely on seven hits, a walk, and a hit by pitch. Kyree Hawkins (Smyrna, GA / South Cobb), Nick Browning (Fairfield, OH / Hamilton Badin), and Roman Rothwell (Monroe, OH / Monroe) would all reach base twice in the inning and Browning would steal two bags in the frame.
Mount St. Joseph would follow their streaky, volcanic form when it came to hitting for the remainder of the game. They would go dormant again for the next five frames until the ninth inning rolled around.
Mount St. Joseph erupted again. The Lions would plate four more runs in the final inning off of six base hits, a walk, and a SAC fly. The Pioneers would be shut down in the bottom of the ninth by Matt Hofmann, who saw three batters and struck out each one, bringing your final score to 14-1 in favor of the Lions.
LIONS AT THE PEAK
The Lion pitching staff should be recognized for their performance on Tuesday. Throwing bullpen games is a difficult science due to how many pitchers must perform well for the experiment to work. Mount St. Joseph passed their exam with flying colors on Tuesday night. Between six different pitchers for The Mount they yielded just 7 hits and 1 run, while striking out 16 batters as a staff.
Matt Hofmann stuck out in particular against the Pioneers because of what he did at the plate as well. He closed the game with three strikeouts in three batters faced but he also started the game at shortstop and had the most hits out of any player in the stadium. Hofmann would go 4-5 in a game that also saw him score twice and drive in a run.
Mount St. Joseph has a home slate of weekend conference game for the first time this season. The Lions will welcome Bluffton for three games this weekend at UC Health Stadium in Florence, Kentucky. The first pitch of the showdown on Friday will come at 4:00 PM. That game will be followed up by a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The first pitch of game one will be thrown at 12:00 PM with game two beginning directly after the conclusion of game one.