Lions falter, cling to playoff hopes

By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor

Cirillo tosses six innings in the team’s win over Rutgers. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Cirillo tosses six innings in the team’s win over Rutgers. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

After a winning weekend, the College’s baseball team suffered some tough losses, but they also had an important win against conference opponent Rutgers University-Camden to put their season record at 13-15.

The Lions suffered a loss against Rowan University on Monday, April 13. The team jumped out in the beginning of the game by scoring two runs after juniors Patrick Roberts and Garen Turner ripped singles to score the men on base. The two runs weren’t enough, though, with Rowan adding one run in the bottom of the inning and then adding two more in the bottom of the third.

In the fourth, the Lions tied the game at three. Senior Josh Limon led off the inning with a double, making it his 10th double of the season. Sophomore catcher CJ Gearhart got a base hit to plate Limon, the tying run. In the bottom of the fifth, Rowan scored the final runs of the game, and the two runs were enough to hold their 6-4 win over the College.

In the loss against Farmingville State College, the freshmen were the stars of the game. Freshman pitcher Jacob Anderson made his first collegiate start and, despite the loss, pitched a great game against the Rams. Anderson went six innings, walked one and had one strikeout. Freshman Zachary Shindler had three hits in the game. In the seventh, Shindler prevented further damage by cutting down a runner at home who attempted to score from third on a grounder.

Fresman pitcher Matt Curry talked about the dynamic of the team with the freshmen and the upperclassman.

“We have a tight-knit group of freshman — there’s like nine or 10 of us, so we are all really close,” Curry said. “All the seniors and upperclassman are really close, and they’ve been great to us. I think with the way our team works, it doesn’t matter if you are a freshmen or a senior — we have guys contributing all over the field.”

Freshman pitcher Joe Cirillo had a strong performance against Rutgers University-Camden on Thursday, April 16. Cirillo went six innings, allowed only three hits to RUC and gave up one run in the fifth. In the fourth inning, Cirillo escaped a bases loaded jam with ease. With the 6-1 win, Cirillo approved his record to 4-1 for the season.

The Lions’ bats came out swinging, with senior Michael Murray and juniors Patrick Roberts and John Rizzi all getting two or more hits in the game. Roberts got the team started by singling to plate Rizzi and give the Lions an early 1-0 lead.

With Cirillo silencing the RUC bats, the Lions’ offense took off in the fourth to increase their lead to 5-0. Gearhart and Murray started off the inning by hitting back-to-back singles. Junior Mark Mari hit a grounder that was misplayed, and three players were able to touch the bag at home, giving the College a comfortable lead. 

  The next couple days were tougher for the Lions, with a loss against RUC on Friday, April 17 and a pair of losses in a doubleheader against Ramapo College on Saturday, April 18.

Curry got the start for the Lions against RUC and pitched five and one-third innings, only giving up one run in the second. In the top of the sixth, the Lions lost their 2-1 lead when a RUC player hit a grand slam to clear the bases, allowing RUC to take a strong, 7-2 lead against the College.

RUC eventually scored two more runs in the eighth, and the College answered back by scoring two more runs in the bottom of the inning. But it wouldn’t be enough to rally a win, as the Lions would go on to lose, 9-4.

Even with the loss, Curry knew what he needed to work on for the next time he took the mound.

“I just got to see what I need to work on … I got behind on a lot of hitters today,” Curry said.

The College suffered a sweep against Ramapo with a 3-1 loss in the first game of the day and a devastating 8-1 loss in the later game.

The team doesn’t let the losses affect them, though. They continue to keep a positive mindset and focus on what they need to do.

“We just need to get the bats going,” Curry said. “Once our offense gets rolling, there’s nothing that could really stop us.”

The team is now 13-15 in the season and 6-8 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The Lions return home on Friday, April 24, against Rutgers University-Newark after a stretch of away games.

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