By Caleigh Carlson
The baseball team dominated in its home opener at George Ackerman Park, on Thursday, March 23, after returning from its annual trip to Winter Haven, Fla., where the Lions won six games and lost three.
The fans bared the cold, windy day to watch junior pitcher Brandon Zachary capture his first victory of the season. Zachary pitched six innings, striking out six and allowing only one run on four hits to the Ursinus College Bears.
After four back-to-back innings in a scoreless pitchers’ duel, the Lions scored their first run in the fifth inning. The run was a product of heads-up baserunning, as freshman outfielder Thomas Persichetti scored it on a wild pitch.
The bulk of the runs were scored in the sixth inning. It was an eventful one for the Lions in which the team scored a total of 11 runs. The inning included eight hits, three walks and three defensive errors on one play. The madness began when Persichetti drove a single to left field putting the Lions ahead, 2-1. Junior infielder Patrick Anderson had the next run-scoring single.
Following Anderson’s single, both junior infielder Zachary Schindler and senior infielder Alex Christian walked with bases loaded, putting the team ahead, 5-1. Hitting a ground ball to short, with bases still loaded, senior catcher CJ Gearhart ended up on third base due to multiple defensive errors at home plate.
The sun darted in and out of the clouds, mimicking the players as they ran in and out of the dugout between innings. But by the time the sun seemed to be gone for good in the sixth inning, the Lions stubbornly made a point to stay on offense.
The explosive inning continued as 16 batters came to the plate. Anderson drove in two more runs with his second hit of the inning and Schindler singled an RBI through the right side, allowing Persichetti to score.
“I thought their starter was really good,” Schindler said. “He had us guessing a lot of times on pitches, but we were able to get to their weaker guys and do what we did.”
The final three innings saw a quick end. In the seventh, sophomore pitcher Dylan Crowley struck out one and held the score for the Lions. Following his lead, sophomore pitcher Zac deRocco was equally successful in the eighth. Finally, freshman Nickolas Kleftogiannis closed out the ninth, needing only three pitches to put a stamp on the home opening victory of the Lions.
“It’s always nice winning that first home game,” head coach Dean Glus said.
“The players have goals and their goals are to win a lot of ball games. The guys want to win the conference, go to regionals and play better every game.”
Having years of experience as the head coach of the team, Glus recognized that even with a 12-3 win, the players still have some room for improvement.
“The other part I think we need to work on is the mentality,” Glus said. “Trusting yourself, trusting your teammates and just letting it happen. It’s a game. Have fun and just let it go.”
If the team can continue to play as well as they did against Ursinus, the players will certainly begin to have more fun. Glus has an admirable connection to his players, and his dedication to them is demonstrated in their performance.
“We don’t have any superstars, just a lot of good players,” Glus said. “If we keep playing this way across the board then we’ll be in good shape.”
On Saturday, March 25, the Lions swept Franklin and Marshall College,10-5 and 9-1, in a doubleheader. The Diplomats couldn’t dispute with the Lions offense as they recorded a total of 25 hits and 19 runs. Meanwhile, the pitcher duo of sophomore Michael Fischer and Matt Curry carried out victories.
The Lions will travel west to Pennsylvania for a pair of away of games. On Tuesday, March 28, the Lions will play against Widener University. The Lions will then compete against Haverford College on Thursday, March 30. The team’s next home game is a doubleheader on Saturday, April 1, against Rutgers University-Newark starting at 11:30 a.m.