No. 4 Marist Rallies Late, Hands No. 7 Nazareth Their First Loss

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

No. 4 Marist travelled to No. 7 Nazareth to take on the undefeated Road Runners on Monday afternoon. The battle between the two Top-10 teams did not disappoint as Marist used a seventh inning rally to get by Nazareth in game one of their East Suburban Catholic league two-game series. 

Marist (9-1) scored three runs in the top of the sixth and three more in the top of the seventh to come from behind and hand the Road Runners their first loss of the season. Trailing 7-6 in the top of the seventh, Marist strung together a one-out rally. Senior Mark Brannigan (uncommitted) singled to center field and senior Central Michigan commit, Luke Sefcik, lined a hard single to right that allowed Brannigan to scoot around to third base. The Sefcik single gave Marist runners at the corners with one out. Senior Chazz Clark (Xavier LA commit), the three-hole hitter, proceeded to barrel a sharp groundball to the second baseman that had the makings of being a game-ending double play. However, the turn from the second baseman was not handled by the shortstop and everyone was safe, with Brannigan coming around to score the game-tying run for Marist. Jack Carney later grounded a go-ahead RBI single with the infield drawn in and Marist would tack one more run on thanks to a sacrifice fly by senior catcher, Jonny Crowel (Flagler college commit). 

INF/RHP Luke Sefcik (Central Michigan commit), who came on to get the final out of the inning in the bottom of the sixth inning for Marist, came back out in the seventh and went three-up, three-down to preserve the 9-7 victory and pick up the win on the mound. Sefcik did it all for the RedHawks on Monday, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run and three runs scored.

Freshman left-handed pitcher, John Hughes, got the start for Nazareth (10-1) and was extremely impressive in his five innings of work. Hughes showed a polished three-pitch mix throughout, sat 81-83 mph with his fastball and kept the Marist lineup off balance his entire outing. Hughes struck out nine hitters in his five innings, scattering three hits, two earned runs with no walks. Hughes landed 69% of his pitches for strikes in his outing and threw a total of 68 pitches. High-follow uncommitted freshman arm to follow moving forward.

Nazareth jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and after Marist made it 4-3 going to the fifth inning, Nazareth tacked on four more to make it 7-3 at the time, seemingly in full control of the game. In the four run third inning, Nazareth got a big two-run single from senior Ryan Smith, one of the top unsigned seniors in the state. Uncommitted junior, Luke Brabham, one of the hottest hitters in the state and a candidate for PBR Player of the Week, last week, also had an RBI single in the frame. In the three-run fifth inning, Wylder Guido (Wisconsin-Eau Claire) collected an RBI single and later scored on a two-run double off the center-field wall by senior Loras Commit, Justin Gutierrez

Marist and Nazareth will match up again on Tuesday, April 27th at Marist for game-two of the series.


+ Mark Brannigan (Marist): 2-for-4, 2 R.
+ Luke Sefcik (Marist): 3-for-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI / 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, W
+ Jack Carney (Marist): 2-for-2, game-winning RBI, R
+ Chazz Clark (Marist): 2-for-4, RBI, R
+ John Hughes (Nazareth): 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 9 K, 0 BB, 68 pitches
Luke Brabham (Nazareth): 2-for-4, RBI
+ Ryan Smith (Nazareth): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
+ Justin Gutierrez (Nazareth): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI
+ Cooper Malamazian (Nazareth): 2-for-4, R

For more in-depth notes from the games - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog.