Aquinas baseball coach Mike Laney can't figure his team out.
Sometimes, the Fighting Irish hit the ball hard, but don't have the pitching. Sometimes, the pitching is there, but they can't hit the ball out of the infield.
On Tuesday, the defense didn't show up, and Cross Creek was quick to take advantage.
Aquinas committed three errors in a six-run second inning, and Cross Creek sophomore Jon Egan was a force on the mound and at the plate to help lead the visiting Razorbacks to a 7-1 win against the Fighting Irish in a five-inning game that was shortened by darkness.
All of it added to Laney's confusion.
"Everyone knows Cross Creek is the class of the county, but we feel like we can handle them," Laney said. "But we won't win until we start playing good baseball. The cerebral mistakes are what really get you."
Aside from the second inning, Aquinas (3-3) played fine. Starting pitcher Blake Quarles (0-3) struck out five while allowing just four hits and two earned runs - one of which was a long home run by Egan in the fourth inning.
But the second frame was a disaster.
Aquinas committed three errors - including back-to-back miscues by third baseman Mike Hartley - Quarles unleashed two wild pitches, and catcher Stephen Gamble allowed a passed ball.
Cross Creek (6-0) pushed six runs across the plate, five were unearned, that inning to take control of the game.
"If you boot the ball and give the other team an opportunity to score, we need to take advantage of it," Razorback coach Bob Polewski said. "We hit the ball, and they couldn't come up with the play. Defense and pitching is what you need to win."
Cross Creek definitely got the latter from Egan (2-0) and reliever Ian Bednarski.
Egan started the contest, allowing only a solo home run to Chris Loyal in the first, and Bednarski didn't allow a baserunner the rest of the game.
"Our strikeouts have been high, and our walks have been low," Polewski said. "I've been happy with the pitching all year."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.