The Lions kicked off their 2006 season with a big win against undefeated Salisbury University. With the 5-1 victory, the Lions move to a 1-0 record while the Seagulls drop to 8-1.
“Everyone on the team was on a high getting out and winning the game, especially against a team who was 8-0,” junior pitcher Brian Kraus said. “It was a great feeling to us.”
Sophomore relief pitcher Brad Kittle picked up the win for the Lions as he pitched the last 4 2/3 innings of the game, giving up only one hit and fanning two Seagulls in the process. Kittle went 4-0 last season.
Kraus started on the mound and gave up only one hit. He went 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts, three walks and one run.
“That felt awesome, but I owe a lot of it to the defense I had behind me,” Kraus said. “They played great and made it much easier to pitch.”
“It isn’t easy any time you are throwing the first game,” head coach Rick Dell said. “Being outside for the first time you have to make the adjustments. Brian did what he needed to do and it is a good outing to build on.”
The Lions’ offense was led by junior PJ Anzelone, as he went 2-4 at the plate with a double, the only extra-base hit of the game, and scored two runs. Senior center fielder Charlie Iacono and senior shortstop Mike Bruschini each added a run and a stolen base to the effort.
This season, the Lions will be defending the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title after beating Rowan University in the championship game of the NJAC Tournament last year.
“Our philosophy is to take it one day at a time, one game at a time,” Dell said. “Our biggest concern is to build on this win and get things done that we need to get done before we go to Arizona.”
The Lions expect to have numerous standouts on the team this season. All-American junior first baseman Blake Bullis has had a stellar career thus far, batting a solid .370 with a .608 slugging percentage and a 19-21 record in stolen base attempts.
All-American junior catcher Gerard Haran has also made a name for himself in his two previous seasons at the College. Batting a .367 with a .689 slugging percentage, Haran has slammed 21 career home runs and 98 runs batted in (RBI). In the 2005 season alone, Haran knocked in 74 RBI with 15 home runs, a school record.
The Lions will return to the field on March 11 to face Keene State College in Phoenix, Ariz., beginning their spring training trip.