In his first at-bat Friday, Ryan Lin-Peistrup ripped a single. The senior shortstop added another single in his second trip to the plate.
The Illinois-bound Lin-Peistrup finished 2-for-2 and scored three runs. He called it his best offensive performance in three games.
Loyola’s team can say the same thing.
The Ramblers had 10 hits, equaling their total from the first two games, in a 13-1 win in five innings over Taft. It was Loyola’s first home game of the season.
“We had a good amount of batting practice [Thursday], and I came out of it with a lot of confidence,” Lin-Peistrup said. “I wanted to keep my bat on plane and not over-swing.”
Loyola head coach Nick Bridich said offense can be contagious, and that was the case with the Ramblers on Friday. Seven players had at least one hit, including junior pinch-hitter Henry Haracz, who drove in two runs with his single in the bottom of the fourth. Senior third baseman Jack Blindt and senior catcher Brian Vance each finished with two hits apiece.
“It takes a little time for the bats to come around, so it was nice to see us bang out a few hits,” Bridich said. “We looked more comfortable in the box [Friday]. In our first two games, we were too jumpy and trying to do too much. We stayed behind the ball better. We know we are improving. Sometimes, the bats warm up together.”
The Ramblers (3-0) plated two in the first, the first run scoring on a double steal by senior left fielder Andrew Bartholow from third and Lin-Peistrup from first.
After Taft got on the board in the third, Loyola added three in its half of the inning. The Ramblers broke open the game with eight runs in the fourth. Five of them scored on Taft miscues. Junior right fielder Trey Torain and Haracz each had run-scoring hits.
Junior right-hander Will Jackson allowed one hit and one unearned run while striking out five in three innings to get the win. Senior left-hander Chris Toomey pitched two scoreless innings of relief. The Ramblers have surrendered one unearned run in 18 innings this season.
“I am really happy with our pitching and our defense,” Bridich said. “We are committed to and executing the plan so far. It’s a great group of kids who have worked hard.”