Lions blast Scarlet Raiders in conference opener

By Miguel Gonzalez
Sports Editor

The Lions dropped two consecutive out-of-conference games before sweeping Rutgers University-Newark with 8-1 and an 13-5 victories on Sunday, April 4.

On Wednesday, March 29, the Lions were overwhelmed by Widener University, 19-4. Despite only recording 10 hits, the Pride drove in 19 runs. In the bottom of the third inning, the Pride scored 11 runs with a series of walks, singles and RBIs. The Lions pitching staff struggled to tame the Pride’s hot offense.

Cirillo strikes out 10 Scarlet Raiders. (Courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

“Widener University likes to run a lot and we didn’t do a good job on keeping them off the bases and they exposed that,” Head Coach Dean Glus said.

At the top of the fourth, the Lions fired back with two runs when freshman outfielder Jacob Simon drove in two baserunners off a single. Afterwards, the Lions were not able to score another run.For the remainder of the game, the Pride pitching duo of junior Matthew Guarino and freshman Ricky Collings limited the Lions to five hits.

In the following match at Haverford College on Thursday, March 30, the Lions were plucked by the Black Squirrels, 7-3. 

The Black Squirrels nutted to a fast start at the bottom of the second inning. With two outs remaining, Black Squirrels’ junior outfielder Thomas Vollaro and freshman outfielder Ethan Lee-Tyson hit back and back singles to drive in three runs.

The Lions tried to rally in the top of the seventh inning. With a 5-1 deficit, junior outfielder Mike Follet doubled into center field, allowing sophomore infielder Ryan Fischer to score. Another scoring run at the next at-bat slashed the Black Squirrel’s lead to two runs.

Similar to the loss against Widener University, strong pitching stopped the Lions from producing more runs.

After two consecutive losses, the Lions rebounded and swept Rutgers University-Newark in their first conference doubleheader.

In the first game, junior pitcher Joe Cirillo had a dominant performance as he struck out 10 Scarlet Raiders and permitted one earned run. Cirillo’s pitching was aided by the Lions offense as they slammed 11 hits.

The Lions offense continued to ignite in the second game when they detonated the Scarlet Raiders, 13-5. From the third to sixth innings, the Lions cumulated 10 runs before the Scarlet Raiders marked the scoreboard. 

“I believe we can produce more runs with a little better approach and getting that good feel in the batter’s box,” Glus said. “This past weekend got us off to a good start for the rest of the week. We look forward to competing with all the teams in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The NJAC is the best Division III baseball conference in the country and you must come out everyday with your “A” game to be able to compete against any team in the NJAC.”

The Lions resume their quest to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference as they take on Rutgers University-Camden at George Ackerman Park on Thursday, April 6 at 3:30 p.m. The next day, Friday, April 7, the Lions will return the favor and compete away against the Raptors at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 8, the team will travel north to Mahwah, N.J. for a conference doubleheader against Ramapo College.