The College’s baseball team continued its winning ways upon returning to New Jersey, picking up four more wins over the weekend after a 9-2 season-opening road trip to Florida last week.
“It’s funny,” head coach Rick Dell said. “You go to Florida and the air is warmer and the ground is softer. It takes you a couple days to get acclimated. Then you come home, where the air is cooler and the ground is harder, and you have to get acclimated again. But it’s great to see us still play hard and well.”
The Lions swept their third doubleheader of the season on Saturday against Haverford College behind a pair of superb outings from their starting pitchers and a 26-run offensive outburst that saw the Lions bat around the lineup in each game.
In the second game, freshman pitcher Mike Oliver bounced back from a poor showing in Florida to toss seven scoreless innings with just four hits and collect the first collegiate victory of his career in the Lions’ 14-0 trouncing of the Fords.
“He did a super job. He couldn’t have done any better,” Dell said.
The College batted around to score seven runs in the seventh inning, with nine consecutive batters reaching base safely. The rally was capped by a two-RBI double from sophomore catcher Gerard Haran to score junior right fielder Chris Wilson and junior designated hitter Rich Kropp for the fifth and sixth runs of the inning.
Kropp, who was 1-for-3, roped a two-run homer over the left field wall with two outs in the second to opening the scoring for the Lions. Wilson led the Lions, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs at the plate.
“They hit well in some clutch situations,” Dell said.
Sophomore pitchers Blake Ortiz and Bill Opel each worked a scoreless inning in relief to close out the game.
In the first game Saturday, the College downed the Fords 12-1 behind seven scoreless innings from senior pitcher Vincent Petrillo, who allowed just three hits and fanned six.
The Lions plated five runs while batting around in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kropp contributed a bases-clearing double to score three runs. Still with two outs, Kropp scored on single from Wilson the following at-bat and sophomore third baseman Blake Bullis drove in Wilson with a single two batters later.
The Lions were successful at the plate with runners in scoring position, going 7-for-12 with eight RBIs when there were two runners on.
“As a team we got some real good deliveries with two outs,” Dell said. “That’s why we had a relatively easy day. Sometimes that can be contagious through the lineup.”
Haran added a two-run homer over the left field wall in the sixth. Bullis finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Kropp was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Petrillo is now 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
The College stifled the Haverford bats with their gloves, saving a number of potential runs with excellent range in the outfield and some impressive grabs by Bullis at third base throughout the day.
“We made good plays and that breaks the opponent’s spirit,” Dell said. “It can really stop them from scoring.”
On Friday, senior pitcher Brad Downs, who was not expected to start, pitched the Lions to an 11-2 victory over Ursinus College in place of sophomore pitcher Brian Kraus, who was scheduled to start but was scratched due to injury.
“Downs really stepped it up for us,” Dell said.
Kropp put together another solid day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Bullis, sophomore infielder Andrew Cosgrove and sophomore first baseman PJ Anzelone each added two RBIs.
On Monday, the Lions chalked up their fourth straight victory by the score of 11-2 over Arcadia University. Junior pitcher Joe D’Alessandro allowed one run in seven strong innings, while Haran and Wilson both homered.
The College’s game against Stevens Institute of Technology on Sunday was washed out due to rain. No makeup game has been scheduled yet.
The 12-2 Lions will host Gwynedd-Mercy College today at 3 p.m.