By Jessica Ganga
The College’s baseball team split their games, going 2-2 against New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponents. The Lions pounced on Rutgers University-Camden two days in a row on Thursday, April 21, and Friday, April 22, winning the games, 6-4 and 4-0, respectively. The team, which is now 26-6 on the season, fell to Ramapo College in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 23.
The Lions captured their 11th straight win on Thursday against Rutgers-Camden. Senior catcher Garen Turner had, arguably, the best game of his season so far, hitting a grand-slam in the third inning and opening the door for the Lions to take home a win.
Turner also surpassed the 100-RBI milestone, hitting his 102nd of his career and in grand fashion. His current total stands at 105 career RBIs.
In the fifth inning, the Lions added another run to their score. Senior outfielder Patrick Roberts reached base on an error made by Rutgers-Camden and scooted around to third off a bullet to center by Turner who landed on first. Eventually, Roberts tagged up and touched home to score on a sacrifice-fly by sophomore infielder Zachary Shindler.
Sophomore pitcher Brandon Zachary took the mound against Rutgers-Camden and earned the decision, making him 6-0 on the season. Zachary kept his opponents’ bats silent up until the seventh. Rutgers-Camden attempted a rally, scoring four wins in the inning, but it was not enough for the team that currently stands at 21-11 on the season.
The following day, senior pitcher Eric Teesdale stepped on the mound and helped the team shutout Rutgers-Camden, 4-0. The exceptional right-hander put forth one of his best performances on the mound for the Lions. Teesdale went eight innings, gave up only four hits and struck out four of his opponents.
In true Lions fashion, the team jumped out on the board early, scoring a run in the first inning. Sophomore infielder Patrick Anderson smacked the ball to right-center for a double. Roberts stepped up to the plate and singled to left-center, allowing Anderson to race home.
During the fourth inning, Teesdale ran into a bit of trouble. Rutgers-Camden loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. Teesdale remained calm and got himself out of the jam when his opposing batter flew out to left to end the inning.
The Lions continued their scoring in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, the team took advantage of a Rutgers-Camden error. Anderson reached base off the error made by the Rutgers-Camden right-fielder and was able to advance to second, allowing sophomore outfielder Mike Follet and junior infielder Ben Varone, who were both already on base, to score.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Curry came onto the mound at the end of the game in the ninth to shut it down. The 6’4” right-hander struck out the first batter he faced and recorded a ground out to third. Rutgers-Camden put two runners on base with a pair of singles, but it ended there. Shindler, who was in the game as shortstop, fielded a ground ball and executed a flip to second to secure the shutout and extend their win-streak to 12 games.
The win-streak would come to an end when the team faced Ramapo on Saturday with two crushing losses against the Roadrunners, the first game ending at 9-7 and the second, 11-2. Ramapo came out swinging in the first inning, scoring three runs off of senior pitcher Steven Volpe.
The Lions’s offense supported its strong right-hander in the bottom of the first, scoring five wins to take the lead away from Ramapo. Anderson smashed his second homerun of the season over the trees in left field. Roberts came up to bat and ended up drawing a walk. Turner entered the batter’s box and lasered a single down the left-field line, tying the game at 3. With a single by junior catcher CJ Gearhart and Follet, the tie would eventually be broken, 5-3.
It was not enough for the Lions, who ended up scoring a run in the sixth. The Roadrunners ended the hope of a win when they scored four runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth.
There would be no luck for the Lions in the second game of the day. The team fell flat against Ramapo who jumped out to another early lead, scoring four in the first inning.
The Lions got on the board in the third inning, scoring the only two runs they had in the game. Anderson doubled to right-center, sending senior outfielder John Rizzi to home. Tuner had another productive game, coming up to bat to single to right field, allowing Anderson to score, but that would be it for the Lions as the Roadrunners continued stacking up runs against the team.
Despite the losses, the Lions remain second in the NJAC standings, 10-4, just behind Kean University, 11-3. The Lions look to continue their success against Cairn University on Tuesday, April 26.