By Jessica Ganga
As the weather got hotter at the College, so did its baseball team. The Lions continued their success with a nine-game win streak and added to their overall record, which currently stands at 23-4 on the season. The team faced three New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) teams and came away with a win against each of them, bringing its conference record to 8-2, a testament to the hard work the men put into every game.
In the Lions’s first game against NJAC opponent Stockton University on Monday, April 11, it was freshman pitcher Michael Fischer’s arm on display in the 3-0 win, as he pitched a complete-game shutout. The right-hander retired the first 10 batters, silencing their bats completely. Fischer faced only 30 batters, walked none, allowed five hits and kept Stockton’s score at zero across the board.
For the offense, it was senior catcher Garen Turner who broke the scoreless tie between the teams in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Turner singled down the infield line, allowing senior outfielder John Rizzi to cross home plate.
The Lions would go on to score two more runs in the eighth. With bases loaded, sophomore infielder Zach Shindler smacked the ball to right center for a single, sending outfielder Pat Roberts and Rizzi around to score.
Later in the week, the Lions faced Rowan University for an away and home game on Thursday, April 14, and Friday, April 15, respectively.
On Thursday, the team defeated the Profs, 10-1, and had valuable performances from the end of the lineup. Rowan got on the board early, scoring one run off sophomore pitcher Brandon Zachary, but that would be it, for the NJAC opponent as Zachary dominated the mound for the rest of the game.
The College jumped out in the fourth inning, scoring four runs to take the lead. Roberts got the scoring started with a single to right field allowing Rizzi to score.
In the top of the sixth, Shindler slapped the ball to right-field center, racing to second for a double. Shindler showed off his speed on the bases by advancing to third on a wild pitch and eventually made it home on a another ball to the backstop.
The following day, the team defeated Rowan, 8-3, at home. Senior pitcher Eric Teesdale earned the win for the Lions. Once again, the Lions got on the board early in the second inning, but lost their lead in the fifth after the Profs rallied with three runs. The Lions answered back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
It is evident during each game that the team works hard out on the field to ensure that they walk away with a “W” on the record. Head coach Dean Glus attributes the men’s success to their idea that they can win, even after a so-so 2015 season during which the team still made it to the NJAC playoffs.
“This goes back to last year — at the end of our season last year — we didn’t start very well and at the end of the year, we played pretty well and almost pulled out the conference,” Glus said. “I think that gave the guys a belief that they can do it.”
The Lions have a motive for the season that they derived from last season with an understanding that they can succeed no matter what.
“That’s been their motive all year: ‘Hey, we’ve been there, we bought into the plan and we are going to succeed because (we) are that good,’” Glus said.
The team used their will-succeed motto to finish off the NJAC doubleheader sweep against New Jersey City University (NJCU) on Friday, April 16.
In the first game, 4-0, senior pitcher Steven Volpe got the win for the Lions in a complete-game shutout while improving his personal record to 5-0 on the season. The top of the lineup was busy for the Lions, they accounted for seven of the nine hits during the game. Rizzi broke the scoreless tie in the fifth and drove in another run in the sixth, scoring Shindler to stretch the lead to 4-0.
The Lions would go on to defeat NJCU in the afternoon, 7-5.
Glus, who recorded his 200th win as a coach during the College’s game against William Paterson University on Sunday, April 10, is proud to have been a part of the team’s success during this season.
“I’ve been here 25 years overall and the last nine as head coach,” Glus said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. The guys are great. It’s a special family, so it’s been a very positive thing.”