Lions rebound with four straight wins

By Jessica Ganga
Sports Editor

Last week, the Lions showed what it means to get back up after being knocked down. The baseball team went from losing three in a row to winning four straight, improving its outstanding overall record to 18-4 on the season.

The College scored a whopping 14 runs against Immaculata University, who scored a respectable eight on Tuesday, April 5. The Lions shut out Stockton University Ospreys three days later on Friday, April 8, 7-0. On the road in Wayne, N..J., the Lions took home two wins against William Paterson University Pioneers on Sunday, April 10, 11-3 and 11-0, capping a successful week for the team.

Immaculata got on the board first in the first inning with a run, but the Lions answered back the best way they knew how — by scoring four solid runs in the first inning.

Sophomore infielder Zach Shindler got the scoring started with a triple to center field, allowing for senior catcher Garen Turner and senior outfielder Pat Roberts to reach home. The Lions tacked on two more runs and the scoring did not stop.

The Lions would tally up nine more runs in the next couple innings, scoring four runs in the second inning and scoring a dominating five runs in the third inning. Roberts was the star of the second inning, blasting a grand-slam home run.

In the bottom of the third, senior outfielder John Rizzi — who has been an offensive asset for the Lions this season — hit a hard double and eventually came around to home.

The Mighty Macs attempted to rally in the fourth and the eighth innings, scoring four runs and one run, respectively. But it wasn’t enough against the pouncing Lions, who made sure their opponents’ bats were silenced.

Gearhart helps keep runners from stealing bases. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Gearhart helps keep runners from stealing bases. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Sophomore pitcher Brandon Zachary had a strong showing against Stockton on Friday, going eight innings without letting an opponent cross home plate. Zachary impressively increased his record to 4-0 on the season with a 7-0 shutout against the Ospreys.

In typical Lions fashion, the team jumped out early in the game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first. Once again, it was the duo of Turner and Rizzi that helped the Lions rack up runs early. In the first inning, Turner slapped a run-scoring single to right center, getting sophomore infielder Patrick Robinson and Rizzi to home plate.

During the bottom of the fourth inning, with sophomore outfielder Mike Follet and junior infielder Ben Varone already on base, Rizzi laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners to home.

On the defensive side, Zachary kept the Stockton offense at bay, only allowing runners to reach base in the first five innings, but the bats remained silent for the rest of the game. Zachary also had the defensive help of junior catcher CJ Gearhart, who was active behind the plate. Gearhart made numerous stops and threw out runners trying to advance throughout the game.

The Lions continued their winning streak and strong offensive/defensive play against William Paterson in a Sunday, April 10, doubleheader.

In the first game, senior pitcher Steven Volpe tossed seven impressive innings, only giving up three runs in two innings and improving his record to 4-0 on the season. The veteran pitcher had plenty of support from the offense who had 14 hits, taking full advantage of errors made by the Pioneers.

Rizzi had a busy first inning. The outfielder was hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced to third, taking advantage of an error made by the William Paterson catcher. Anderson stepped up to the plate and grounded out to short, allowing Rizzi to advance to home and put the Lions on the board.

The Pioneers tied the game up in the next inning and attempted to come back in the seventh with two runs. The Lions were too strong, scoring three runs in the third, five runs in the sixth and two runs in the ninth inning to cap off the first game of the day.

Volpe ended the game with eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Senior pitcher Joe DiLorenzo took the mound in the eighth inning to finish the game, only throwing 18 pitches in the final two innings.

For the final game of the day, it was sophomore pitcher Joe Cirillo and senior pitcher Eric Teesdale combined forces to shutout William Paterson, 11-0.

Cirillo only allowed the four hits in seven innings with Teesdale pitching two scoreless innings to cap off the game.

The Lions are scheduled to play New Jersey Athletic Conference rivals Rowan University on Thursday, April 14, where they hope to improve their record.