Loyola shook off its first loss of season with a 4-1 win over Maine South on Wednesday in Glenview.
Senior left-hander Chris Toomey started and earned the win. He gave up three hits, three walks, no runs and struck out two in three innings. Juniors Ben Wagner, Patrick Murray and Will Jackson all pitched in relief. Maine South’s run was unearned.
Jackson secured the victory in the seventh. After letting up a lead-off walk, he got the next batter to ground into an unassisted double play by senior shortstop Ryan Lin-Peistrup before getting the final out with a strikeout.
“Our pitching has been really good,” said Loyola head coach Nick Bridich, whose team lost to Lane Tech 3-2 on Monday in Chicago. “I thought Chris pitched well. He was all over the plate, even though he had some walks. He was down in the zone and didn’t get some calls. We are getting what we need out of our pitchers.”
The Ramblers (4-1) scored all four of their runs in the bottom of third. Lin-Peistrup knocked in two runs, while junior right fielder Trey Torain and senior catcher Brian Vance each drove in one run apiece.
Although Loyola had four hits, Bridich said he was pleased with the offense’s approach. The Ramblers struck out only twice.
“Our at-bats are getting better,” he said. “We are swinging more aggressively early in the count to see more fastballs.”
Senior designated hitter Drew Bartholow was a good example of that Wednesday, Bridich said. The lead-off hitter swung at the first pitch in the first inning and hit a single.
“Typically, you want your lead-off guy taking pitches, but we want to be on the attack, at least early in the game,” Bridich said. “We want to swing early in the count to minimize our strikeouts. When the game got later and we got up, we saw more pitches and made him throw fastballs. We were waiting for him to make mistakes.”
This weekend, Loyola makes its annual trip to St. Louis, where the Ramblers play three games in two days. Bridich said they will see some good competition in advance of the Catholic League schedule starting April 8.
“It will be good to get away from home, from school and focus on baseball,” he said. “It will be good to bond, but we are going there to win.”