The baseball team took one of three games last week, but their 1-1 split with No. 4-ranked Kean University helped them get off to a good start against NJAC competition for the season.
The first game was a 10-inning 2-1 win for the College, with the winning run being plated by freshman third baseman Jacob DeWitt. Junior pitcher Bobby Graber shut out the Cougars until the ninth inning, when he gave up the lone run of the game.
“It’s about believing and having the heart,” junior second baseman Scott Kelly said. “We have talked about our ability and the strength of our team, and we showed it on Saturday.”
Hitting was scarce in the game — so there weren’t really any superstars there — but senior first baseman Jimmy Ruzich was a stud in the field, with nine put-outs for the game. He also went 1-4.
The second game didn’t go quite as well for the Lions, as they were held scoreless by the Cougars in a 1-0 loss. Regardless of the loss, senior pitcher Eric Lewis put the hurt on Kean, holding them to eight hits.
Kelly believes the team brought its A-game against one of the best pitchers in the NJAC in Kean’s Kevin Herget in the first game.
“Our arousal level was not there the second game but we faced one of the best pitchers in the conference and beat him (in the first game),” Kelly said. “We also had the best pitchers in the conference, Bobby Graber and Eric Lewis, and they both pitched phenomenal games. We finally showed the potential we have in this team.”
The team has another tough NJAC slate this week, with a home-and-home against Rowan and a doubleheader against Rutgers University-Newark (which currently sits tied for No. 1 in the NJAC).
“It’s only the first week and teams haven’t separated themselves, but we know we are one of the top teams in the conference,” Kelly said. “What’s going to separate us is quality pitching and timely hitting. We have had great pitching outings from a lot of our pitchers such as Graber, Lewis and (senior) Mike Ham, and now the hitters have to showcase their aggressiveness by having productive at-bats. If we do that, we will be successful in the conference.”