Grace College’s Austin Carr celebrated a run for the Lancers on Friday.
Grace College’s Austin Carr celebrated a run for the Lancers on Friday.
WINONA LAKE - Grace College’s baseball team kicked off its Crossroads League season on Friday during its home opener.

The Lancers’ defense and pitching was sharp, limiting Goshen to three runs across the doubleheader. But Grace was limited to a split, winning the opener 6-2 before falling 1-0 in the second game.

The first contest was scoreless across the first two innings. Both sides had baserunners in each half inning, and it was Grace who struck first.

Patrick Danforth led off the bottom of the third with a double, and he came home after a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.

The Maple Leafs threatened immediately in the top of the fourth with two runners on base, but the rally was cut short with an acrobatic defensive play at third base by Cal Curiel.

Grace tacked on two more runs in the third as Sam Newkirk and Austin Carr crossed home plate.

Kameron Koch shut down the Maple Leafs for the majority of the game. The starting pitcher blanked Goshen for the first seven innings, striking out six and allowing four hits.

The Maple Leafs finally pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the eighth, but Grace still led 3-2.

The Lancers expanded their cushion in the bottom of the eighth. Curiel belted a two-out, three-run home run to put the exclamation point on Grace’s home-opening win.

Hunter Schumacher took care of the rest, earning the save on the mound after entering in relief during the eighth inning.

Curiel hit 2 for 3 with three RBIs, and Danforth hit 2 for 4 with a run scored.

The second game was a true pitchers’ duel. Neither team scored until the seventh and final inning.

Evan Etchison was electric from the mound, striking out 13 batters over 6.2 innings of work.

It took Goshen until the top of the seventh to score against Etchison. The Maple Leafs used two walks and a single to score the only run of the game, doing so with two outs in the frame.

Grace was unable to respond in the final half inning; the Lancers were retired 1-2-3 in the frame to suffer the 1-0 defeat.

The Lancers were not short of chances to score. Grace had two baserunners in each of the first four innings but could not find a run-scoring hit.

Curiel hit 2 for 3 to continue his strong day at the plate. Chris Griffin had one hit and two walks.

The Lancers and Maple Leafs will conclude their series with another 12 p.m. doubleheader at Miller Athletic Complex today.