By Jessica Ganga
The crowd held on to their seats. The baseball team felt the pressure and intensity of the game. With 10 innings played, the Lions needed to break out in the 11th to win.
Senior catcher Matt Facas blew the game wide open for the College on Saturday, March 26, against Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in the second game of the doubleheader that day.
With the dramatic win against F&M, the team improved its overall record to 13-1 on the season.
The Lions continued their hot streak by picking up three wins last week and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
During the first game of the F&M doubleheader, the Lions jumped out early to take the lead in the first inning. Senior outfielder John Rizzi got the Lions on the board with a leadoff double. Senior outfielder Pat Roberts smacked the ball into right field, sending Rizzi home.
Rizzi stepped up again in the second inning of the game by slapping a single to right field, scoring juniors infielder Alex Christian and catcher CJ Gearhart and bringing the score up, 3-0.
Senior pitcher Steven Volpe tossed his second complete game of the season, going all seven inning and allowing only one run to score in the seventh.
In the electrifying afternoon game against F&M, the Lions started out slow. The College trailed F&M, 5-1, after the second inning, but in the third, sophomore Patrick Anderson cut the deficit to 5-3 when he scored sophomore outfielder Mike Follet on a double.
The Lions tied the game up in a thrilling sixth inning, scoring three runs and evening the score at 8. All the runs scored by the College were unearned. After sending junior infielder Ben Varone home, Roberts advanced to second on a wild pitch. On the same pitch, Rizzi, who was on third, darted toward home and scored the tying run.
Both teams had a back and forth for the rest of the game, with the Lions losing their lead in the bottom of the eighth and again in the bottom of the tenth.
The 11th inning was the last, with the College breaking out and scoring a total of six runs, taking advantage of mistakes made by the F&M defense, to take the commanding lead. Anderson singled and advanced to second on an error in right field. Freshman infielder Tom McCarthy came home from third to score. McCarthy’s run would be the eventual game winner. Facas secured the win for the team with a two-run single.
Earlier in the week on Wednesday, March 23, the Lions triumphed over Alvernia University at home, 5-3. Sophomore pitcher Joe Cirillo would get the win for the Lions, going seven innings with only three earned runs. The right-hander earned himself eight strikeouts (SO) during his time on the mound, bringing his total SOs to 19 on the season.
The pitching staff was one of the highlights of the game, with the relief pitchers taking the ball and shutting down Alvernia for the rest of the game. Senior pitcher Eric Teasdale took the mound after Cirillo, going one and one-third innings with two SOs. Sophomore pitcher Matt Curry only needed to face two batters, striking out both, to finish up the game.
On the offensive side, Roberts had an impressive game, going 2-for-3 with a home run in the first to get the Lions started on the board. During the following inning, Roberts stepped up to the plate again, this time roping a single to right field in the second, scoring Rizzi and Varone.
The Lions offense was on display again during their game against Ursinis College on Thursday, March 26. With 15 hits total in the game, the Lions earned the “W” with a final score of 7-4.
Once again, the College got on the board early, scoring two runs in the second inning. Sophomore infielder Zachary Shindler started the scoring off with a double to right-center. Varone sent Shindler to home with a single to the right. Rizzi, who has been an offensive asset for the Lions, stepped in the box and hit a rocket in the middle, scoring Gearhart.
Sophomore pitcher Brandon Zachary earned his second win of the season, going six innings and only giving up two runs. The young right-hander struck out six batters during the game.
The Lions look to continue their eight-game winning streak during the week of Sunday, March, 27, with a games against Widener University on Tuesday, March, 29, Haverford University on Wednesday, March 31, and Kean University on Saturday, April 2.