Homestand provides mixed results

Not even an inspiring performance by a grieving teammate could right the Lions’ ship as they continue to frustrate their critics as well as each other.

Junior pitcher Sean Stewart, who suffered the loss in his family only days earlier, returned to George Ackerman Park on Friday to pitch eight strong innings for the Lions, stymieing the Profs of Rowan University for only one run on three hits with eight strikeouts.

One would think that the Lions may perhaps rally around such a moving performance, but Stewart would not factor in the decision as the Lions could not put away the Profs in the final inning. The College nursed a 2-1 lead heading into the top of the ninth but a pinch-runner would tie the game at two and a miscue by the Lions, coupled with a single by Prof sophomore outfielder Scott Weaver would secure the 4-2 win. The Profs improved their record to 11-3-1 while the Lions fell to 7-8-1.

Both runs scored by the Lions were RBI singles, courtesy of senior shortstop Jeff Toth who went 3-4 on the day. The offensive leader for the College is currently batting .486 with two home runs and 19 RBIs.

Following their loss to rival Rowan, the Lions were back on their home field and prepared for their doubleheader against the Rutgers University-Newark. Each of the two games between the Lions and Scarlet Raiders was decided by one run with the Raiders taking game one 5-4 and the Lions claiming game two 2-1.

Senior Dan Ramos-Dominko started the first game for the Lions under the overcast Saturday sky. Ramos-Dominko took the loss for the Lions, as a four-run fifth inning would tarnish his otherwise strong performance.

In the fifth with the game tied at one, sophomore outfielder Steve Giordano smashed a triple down the right field line to score junior first baseman Matt Lingo from first. A past ball along with an opposite field home run by sophomore shortstop Patrick Reitemeyer accounted for three more runs and the Lions would not recover. A strike-out, throw-out double play finished the Lions in the ninth as they moved on to game two of the twin bill.

In game two, the College was led by sophomore pitcher Connor Henderson who held the Scarlet Raiders to one run and six hits over eight and 1/3 innings.

Defense was also key for the Lions, as they turned four double plays and sophomore first baseman Lenny Racco made a diving grab of a line drive which would have scored a run.

Racco also scored a run for the College following his first hit of the season. In the sixth inning, the Lions took the lead with an RBI single by Toth which scored senior second baseman Adam Tussey. Senior Eric Gertie recorded his fourth save of the season for the Lions, as he ended the game by claiming the final two outs.

Prior to their rocky weekend, the College gained a bit of confidence as their offense came alive against Gwynedd-Mercy College. The Lions came from behind last Wednesday to upset the Griffins, rallying in the bottom of the eighth for four runs.

The Lions held on to win 11-9 while several players had strong days at the plate. Senior third baseman Vince Mazzaccaro went 3-4 with three RBIs while sophomore outfielder Anthony Palmiotto recorded two hits with a run scored and an RBI.

The Lions hoped to gain momentum against the Scarlet Raptors of Rutgers University-Camden but a late rally would plague the College again.

In the sixth inning, with the game tied at one, Rutgers-Camden pulled ahead with a two-run home run to upset senior pitcher Dan Anderson’s otherwise smooth afternoon. Following the homer, the Scarlet Raptors tacked on runs in the following innings, but with an 8-1 deficit, the Lions attempted a comeback in the top of the ninth.

Led by Palmiotto and Toth, the Lions scored four times before being silenced for a score of 8-5.

The Lions now rest at 8-10-1 as they will try to gain momentum at Moravian University on Thursday.

Bobby Olivier can be reached at olivier6@tcnj.edu.