All it took was one decisive swing from Pioneer Tim Banos to break the Lions’ early three-run lead over William Paterson University and the College’s 11-game winning streak.
For the first time this season, the Lions gave up double digits in a loss, falling 12-5 to William Paterson in the opener of Sunday’s sunny Family Day doubleheader.
Yet, even with a disappointing start, the Lions were able to rally back with a hefty 19-5 win over the Pioneers in the nightcap.
“It takes a lot of character,” head coach Rick Dell said. “We haven’t been in this kind of situation before.”
He added, “In this first game, we just stopped hitting. We got three runs, and then we waited to see if (the Pioneers) would catch up. Then they got three runs, and then three more and it just broke our spirits.”
Banos, sophomore infielder, opened scoring for the Pioneers in the fourth, closing the gap on the Lions’ early lead. By the end of the inning, William Paterson had tallied four runs, secured its lead and never looked back. In the sixth, they added five more runs to solidify the win.
In the nightcap, the Lions started off strong as they had in the opener, but this time they didn’t give the Pioneers a chance to catch up.
“We didn’t panic, we kept our composure,” Dell said. “We scored three runs, then we stopped (the Pioneers) from scoring. We scored more, and then stopped them again. We never had to do this before, so it was good to see how the kids reacted to this situation.”
Despite the early loss, the Lions entered the second game in high spirits. Junior first baseman Pat Zegarski broke the scoreless stalemate in the second with a homerun. His run set the tone for the Lions, and the team finished the inning up six runs over the Pioneers.
“I felt really confident out there and really trusted my ability,” Zegarski said.
Junior outfielder Bryan Flynn added to the lead, driving in a three-run homerun. By the third inning, the Lions were up 11-3. Flynn finished the game with five RBIs, two runs, a double and the homerun.
“We played really well, coming back from behind,” Flynn said. “We just managed to put everything together.”
A little extra help came from errors made by the Pioneers, and Lions took every chance to capitalize on the blunders.
In the third, Czajka converted a double into an in-the-park-homerun and senior shortstop Nick Stine, Zegarski and Senior Greg Martinez scored off his hit. As Czajka rounded second, the Pioneers threw home to stop the advancement of the runners. But, the ball flew past the catcher, and all three runners made it home safe.
Senior catcher Bryan Weingart quickly scooped up the ball, and threw it to third to stop Czjaka from advancing. Third baseman Len Hoffman missed, and Czjacka took the opportunity to run home.
The College also improved its pitching in the nightcap. Senior Bryan Shaffer went seven innings, fanning nine batters. He is now 5-1 with the win.
Earlier in the week, the College picked up wins over Rutgers University-Newark, Richard Stockton College and Wilmington College.
Scoring was high for the Lions, as Jason Gumnitz led the way for the College in its 11-6 win over Rutgers on Friday. Gumnitz went five-for-five, finishing with a homerun and three RBIs.
Catcher Sergio Sencion tallied a single, double and triple and three RBIs. Junior Chris Schoonhoven finished the game with three hits and two RBIs.