The baseball team spent its spring break soaking up not only the sun, but also seven consecutive victories during their Spring Training trip to Phoenix, Ariz.
The Lions improved to 8-0 on the young season thanks in part to a dominating offensive attack that scored more than 10 runs in six of their seven spring training games. To date, the Lions have outscored opponents 108-29 on their western road trip.
In its most recent action, the College swept two seven-inning games against St. Norbert College on Saturday. In the first game the College held on to defeat St. Norbert 8-7, surviving a five-run seventh-inning comeback. Junior Dave Waseleski got the save in relief of senior starting pitcher Ryan Casey (1-0) who picked up the win.
Junior Blake Bullis drove in what would be the winning run in the top of the seventh. Fellow juniors PJ Anzelone and Gerard Haran chipped in offensively with Anzelone driving in three runs and Haran adding two doubles.
The nightcap was never in doubt as the Lions pounded out 16 runs on 16 hits to complete the sweep with a 16-1 win. Senior Chris Wilson led the Lions’ lineup with a pair of triples en route to a 3-4 day at the plate with four RBI. Sophomore Mike Oliver improved to 2-0 on the season with
six innings of two-hit ball.
The most exciting game of the trip came against SUNY Brockport with the College coming from behind to earn a 10-9 victory on March 14.
Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Lions pushed six runs across the plate capped off by a Haran three-run homer that cemented the win.
Senior Charlie Iacono and sophomore Dave Mebs began the scoring with RBI singles. Senior Rich Kropp then delivered an RBI triple. With two on, the junior catcher belted a home run to give the Lions a 10-8 lead. Waseleski pitched four innings in relief to pick up the win.
Haran had an especially impressive road trip. He is batting a whopping .576 and leads or is tied for the team-lead in hits, doubles, total bases, home runs and on-base percentage.
Haran, along with Wilson and Bullis, earned all-conference honors last season and are expected to lead the Lions once again this season.
Wilson, a senior outfielder, is batting .438 with five extra-base hits and 12 RBI on the year. Bullis, a junior first baseman, is batting .515 with five extra-base hits and 16 RBI.
The College also defeated Roger Williams University, 15-1; Springfield College, 22-2; SUNY Brockport again, 14-5; and North Central College 23-4 during their road trip.
The Lions were chosen as the preseason favorite to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference title in a coaches’ poll. The College finished last season with an overall record of 34-13 (11-5 NJAC) and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament Mid-Atlantic Regional after capturing the NJAC title by winning the conference tournament.
Rowan University will likely pose the greatest challenge for the College. The Profs were picked to finish second in the same poll and are coming off a strong season, 42-10, where they advanced to the NCAA Tournament National Championship Series for the second consecutive year.
The College posted an 11-10 come-from-behind victory against Johns Hopkins University to close out their Spring Training games. They’ll return to east-coast action tomorrow against Ursinus College.
The Lions are scheduled to play their first home game on Tuesday against Gwynedd-Mercy College at 3 p.m. Results can be seen at tcnjathletics.com