BASEBALL: It still is early in the season, but Loyola head coach Nick Bridich called Wednesday’s 5-3 win over New Trier on the road a “potentially defining moment” for his team. 

Down 2-0 after six innings, the Ramblers (5-3) rallied with five runs in their half of the seventh to go ahead 5-2. Junior Andrew Smart delivered the game-winning hit with his bases-clearing triple. 

Senior right-hander Collin Gillespie earned the win by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh with a strikeout to end the game. 

“We haven’t played a lot of baseball, and we are trying to find ourselves,” Bridich said. “It was good for us to have to grit through some stuff.”

Junior Mikey Bednarek led off the seventh with a single and later scored on a passed ball to get the Ramblers within one, 2-1. Smart followed with a line drive over the centerfielder’s head to bring home the go-ahead runs. 

After relieving junior right-hander Thomas Schafer to start the fifth, Gillespie pitched two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Gillespie issued a two-out, bases-loaded walk, but he ended the threat with a strikeout. 

“We train our guys for those situations,” Bridich said. “Nobody is more ready than Collin. It wasn’t pretty or perfect, but he had enough to get it done.”

Senior Patrick Neenan and Bednarek each had two hits apiece. Schafer allowed two earned runs in four innings before exiting the game.

“Thomas didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept us in the ballgame and gave us a chance,” Bridich said.

SOFTBALL: Freshman pitcher Mackenzie Barry bounced back from her worst outing of the season to toss a shutout Wednesday in Loyola’s 8-0 win over Maine South on the road. 

The Ramblers (5-1) scored five runs in the third, highlighted by Emily Molloy’s two-run double, to provide Barry with more than enough offense. 

After getting a no decision in Tuesday’s 18-12 loss to Trinity in the GCAC Red opener, Barry allowed one hit and struck out six to improve to 5-0. She retired the final eight batters in a row. 

Molloy had two hits and three RBIs. KK Raymond finished with two hits, three runs and one RBI. Nyah Moore totaled two hits and one RBI. 

GIRLS LACROSSE: The Ramblers continued their strong start to the season Wednesday with an 18-1 win over Naperville North on the road. In six games, Loyola (6-0) has outscored opponents 106-9.

Now, the Ramblers head out of town for their annual trip to play some of the best programs on the East Coast. 

Loyola plays Potomac School, of McLean, Virginia, on Friday before competing at the St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Spring Fling on Saturday. The host Saints are the No. 8-ranked team in the country by Nike/US Lacrosse. The Ramblers close out the trip Sunday.