Kirby, Loyola outlast Mt. St. Joe

Loyola 4 No. 9 Mount St. Joseph 3

Baseball

May 04, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

Loyola junior Bobby Kirby, who has emerged this season as one of the top pitchers in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, didn't have his best stuff yesterday at Mount St. Joseph in Irvington.

So the 6-foot-5 right-handed ace relied on his heart and location to get a hard-earned and crucial win over the No. 9 Gaels, 4-3, in eight innings.

Kirby (5-2) went seven innings, and after his team scored a run in the eighth on an error in the middle infield with the bases loaded, Ryan Zikorus retired the Gaels in order to notch the save.

"We really needed this game as a team to try and wrap up the season in second place, " said Kirby, who scattered eight hits, hit three batters, had no walks and struck out five on 109 pitches.

"They have solid hitters one through nine, so location is really important and I was trying to hit spots. This was a key win."

The victory enhanced the upstart Dons' chances of clinching second place and a bye in the playoffs, which begin in two weeks. The loss left Mount St. Joseph's playoff chances in jeopardy.

At 13-11 overall and 7-8 in the conference, the Gaels, who had two runners thrown out at home and another at third in the sixth to kill a potential big inning, are in trouble.

"We're struggling big time, and I'm trying to get the guys to be aggressive," said Gaels 25th-year coach Dave Norton, who notched his 500th career win last week and gambled to no avail yesterday by waving the runners home in the sixth and getting only one run out of it.

The top two teams get first-round byes in the six-team, double-elimination tournament. Loyola (15-6, 11-4) is second behind Calvert Hall (24-0, 13-0) with No. 4 Archbishop Spalding (22-6, 9-5) third.

Loyola is two wins shy of the 31-year-old school season record for wins with three league games and the playoffs left.

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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