KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Benedictine (30-19, 19-9 Heart) won the middle pair of games over Avila University (26-22, 14-14 Heart) as the two teams split their Heart South series over the weekend.
Avila took game one on Saturday, 12-3, before Benedictine picked up a split with a 4-2 in game two. On Sunday, the Ravens took game three of the series 9-5 before Avila pulled even for the split with a 9-5 win of their own in game four.
With just their final divisional four-game series left on the schedule, the Ravens are currently one-game back of NAIA No. 5 and Heart South leader Central Methodist. They have a two-game lead over MNU – who they wrap up the season with on Friday and Saturday on Laughlin Field at Olsen Stadium – for second place in the division.
The top five teams from each division qualify for the 2017 Heart Championship Series which will be held in Ozark, Mo., this year from May 4-9.
Avila 12, Benedictine 3
The Ravens gave up 11 hits while they could only pick up six of their own in the opener.
Benedictine used four pitchers in the loss, which was credited to starter Alex Garcia. He gave up two earned runs off five hits over three innings to suffer the loss.
Benedictine 4, Avila 2
The two teams needed extra innings to decide the outcome of game two.
Home runs off the bats of Jarecki and Michael Slaten proved to the difference as Jarecki accounted for two runs and Slaten the third in the top fo the eighth inning. Rocky DeSantis added a solo home run in the seventh to help send the game into extra innings.
Michael Kruse threw all eight innings in the win. He gave up two runs off six hits with a strikeout as the Ravens evened the series.
Benedictine 9, Avila 5
Benedictine used a four-run sixth inning to pull ahead of Avila in the first game on Sunday.
Tied at 5-5, the Ravens rallied for the win with four runs with two outs as they got singles fom Austin Watamaniuk, Slaten and Reid Fritzke. A double from Logan Finley capped off the inning as the Ravens pulled in front.
Ben Costello earned the win making his second start of the season. He threw five innings giving up four earned runs off six hits before Connor Leach threw a scorless final two innings of no-hit baseball to secure the win.
Finley finished with two doubles while Jarecki added two home runs and four RBIs. Watamaniuk added a double while DeSantis finished with two RBIs to go along with Slaten's three hits
Avila 9, Benedictine 5
In a reversal of outcomes, the Ravens still managed to outhit the Eagles 9-8 but couldn't overcome a six-run fourth inning by Avila.
Slaten suffered the loss. He threw three and two-thirds innings allowing five earned runs off five hits.
Myers led the effort at the plate for the Ravens as he finished with a double, home run and two RBIs. Jarecki added his fourth home run of the season with two RBIs as he finished 3 for 3. With that final home run, he moves into a tie for the Ravens single-season home run record with Marty Campbell, who set the record during the 2002 season.
Benedictine wraps up the regular season with a pair of 1 p.m. doubleheaders at Olsen Stadium on Friday and Saturday with MNU. Senior Day will take place on Saturday.