St. Viator dropped the opener of Saturday's baseball doubleheader against visiting Nazareth 17-15 in extra innings.
So needless to say, the Lions were in need of a good pitching performance in the nightcap.
They got one as Robert Romano allowed only 4 hits in a complete game performance. Unfortunately for the Lions, Nazareth's pitching -- and defense -- were just a little bit better.
The visitors' Ryan Marske, a lefty, struck out 11 Viator hitters as Nazareth completed the sweep with a 4-2 win in Arlington Heights.
The two East Suburban Catholic Conference teams were deadlocked for the league lead coming in, but the two wins put Nazareth (25-4, 11-3) on the verge of winning the conference with only 2 more games left.
"It was two different games today," said Lions assistant coach Eric Porter. "The first one was a slugfest and the second one was a pitcher's duel.
"Robert (Romano) pitched a great game for us but some defensive errors cost us."
Viator could muster only 3 hits in the second game after banging out 15 in the opener. Cosimo Cannella had 2 home runs in the first game, and Nick Prazuch's grand slam to the opposite field on a 3-2 count brought the Lions (15-12, 9-5) back from a huge deficit to forge an 11-11 tie.
"After I hit that," said Prazuch, "I thought we had a great chance to win the first game and then come back and win the second one."
Viator had to rally again late to push the game into extras, but Nazareth's Ryan Powers, the winning pitcher, singled in 2 runs with two outs in the eighth for the victory.
"At one time we were down 9-2," said Porter, "so to come back the way we did is a great tribute to the kids."
Romano pitched a stellar game but was hurt by miscues in the field as 3 of the 4 Nazareth runs were unearned.
Viator rallied again as Joe Ferrante stroked an RBI single in the sixth, but Powers returned to the mound in relief of Marske and slammed the door, retiring Kole Luthringshausen on strikes with two men on.
Viator's Kevin Patzke had 3 hits in the opener as did Cannella and Prazuch.
"I think we're a strong enough team to bounce back," said Prazuch. "We believe in ourselves.
"We got a great pitching performance from Robert, and you know everytime he pitches he's going to keep things close. We've just got to make more plays behind him."