Lions can’t be tamed, win sixth straight contest: College takes two against New Jersey City University

Nick Cifelli’s efforts made the third baseman NJAC Player of the Week. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The College’s baseball team continued its hot play this week, taking three more NJAC games and moving up in the conference.

“This past week was important for us to get three big conference wins after a rough start (to the season),” sophomore pitcher Bobby Graber said.

The team didn’t just win their games, they mauled their opponents. In their games against New Jersey City University on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22, they beat the Gothic Knights by a combined score of 29-14.

“Our offense and our pitching are really starting to work together as a unit,” Graber said.

Graber continued the success on Monday, April 25 pitching a complete game shutout against William Paterson University. He gave up only seven hits on the day as well, and the team won 10-0.

“I could throw both my fastball and off-speed pitches for strikes,” Graber said. “That kept the hitters off balance.”

The team’s offense has been stellar as well, averaging 13 runs per game in their last three. The game against the Pioneers on Monday continued the trend.

“It was huge for us to score a bunch of runs early in the game,” Graber said. “We worked counts really well and got a ton of runners on base.”

Graber was not the only standout of the week for the Lions, as sophomore third baseman Nick Cifelli was named NJAC Player of the Week for hitting .583 with five RBI and eight runs scored on the week.

Weather also took center stage for the team again, as the doubleheader against Ramapo College on Saturday, April 23, was postponed until Monday, May 1. Unfortunately for the team, this means that it will be playing nine games over a seven day stretch, beginning with the win against William Paterson.

“The weather has played a major role this year,” Graber said. “However, we have tried to not let it affect us by staying sharp in practice and being mentally prepared to play every day.”

Also important is the fact that most of the games this coming week will be against NJAC opponents, as the team will face Ramapo, Richard Stockton College and Montclair University each twice during the week. Even with all of the NJAC games, Graber doesn’t believe the team needs to place a “magic number” on how many games to win this week.

“We can’t worry about how many games we need to win this upcoming week, Graber said. “We just need to stay focused and play our game, and the results will take care of themselves.”

With this week being the last one of the regular season, the team has a chance to make a jump in the standings with some more quality wins this week.

With Montclair State and Ramapo tied with the College in points, they can pull ahead of either of them with a sweep. Wins against Richard Stockton College will help also, as the team is only four points behind second-place Rowan University and Rutgers University-Newark (each conference win is worth two points).

With only one week to go, the College will look to storm into the NJAC playoffs and maybe even make a run at the conference championship.