HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A two-out, two-run single by second baseman Marcus Buckley in the second inning provided all the runs William Carey University would need Friday night as the sixth-ranked Crusaders eased past Ave Maria University 2-1.
Carey pitchers Hunter Speer and Lake Robertson combined to scatter seven hits and strike out 12 Gyrenes in the first night game at Milton Wheeler Field since 2016.
The Crusaders (2-0) nicked Ave Maria starter Andrew Steele in the second inning. Shortstop Wes Brown and catcher J.T. Wright singled with one out, and third baseman Caleb Ledet loaded the bases with a bunt single.
Steele got the second out on a strikeout, but Buckley came through with a hit that scored Brown and pinch-runner Gabriel Rosado as the Crusaders (2-0) took a 2-0 lead.
The Gyrenes (0-2) cut the lead in half in the third when Speer uncorked a wild pitch, allowing shortstop Tully Allen to score from third base.
But that was the lone run Ave Maria would manage despite coaxing eight walks to go with its seven hits. The Gyrenes stranded 12 runners over nine innings.
Speer (1-0) picked up the win, allowing a run on four hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked four.
Robertson earned his first save of the season with three scoreless innings. He allowed three hits, walked four and struck out four.
Steele (0-1) was the hard-luck loser, allowing two runs on seven hits. He walked only one and struck out seven.
Buckley and Brown each had two hits for Carey.
Allen had two hits and a walk for Ave Maria and also stole a base. First baseman Ryan Keegan also had two hits for the Gyrenes.