By Caleigh Carlson
Sunny and 81 degrees, the only clouds that remained were the ones hanging over the Farmingdale State College Rams as the Lions defeated them, 15-2, on April 11 in George Ackerman Park.
The Lions then hammered Stockton University, beating them 3-1 and 5-0 on Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14. The team concluded the week with two wins in a doubleheader at Montclair State University on Saturday, April 15, to improve to 20-6 overall.
The Lions had a wildly successful day against the Rams. They swatted 18 hits, including seven for extra bases, as they continued their campaign for the New Jersey Athletic Conference title.
Freshman pitcher Max Guidice pitched an outstanding game, giving up only two runs in seven solid innings, earning his first collegiate win. Sophomore outfielder Matt Giacose had three doubles, while junior infielder Zachary Shindler was just a homer short of a cycle, driving in three runs along the way.
While the fans baked in the warm sun, their ears became accustomed to the constant pings of Lions bats that echoed throughout the field. The seven-run first inning foreshadowed the rest of the game, as the Lions ripped five hits and forced the Rams to change pitchers twice.
In the fifth, Giacose doubled to left center, advancing to third on a wild pitch. Freshman outfielder Thomas Persichetti then tripled to left center for an RBI, bringing Giacose to home plate. Afterwards, Schindler tripled to center field, allowing Persichetti to score and gave the Lions a 10-0 lead over the Rams.
The Lions tacked on four more in the seventh and one in the eighth. In the seventh, sophomore infielder Ryan Fischer had an RBI single to left field, driving in sophomore infielder Danny Borup. Shindler then singled to left center, advancing Fischer to second and allowing freshman outfielder Donovan Stallworth to score.
Meanwhile, junior utility player Austin Lindsay singled to left center and Fischer ran home, giving the Lions a 13-2 lead. Finishing off the eventful seventh inning, freshman catcher David Cardona lined a single to right field and Shindler crossed home plate, making the score 14-2.
Freshman pitcher Nickolas Keltofiannias came to the mound to pitch two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out a pair. Giacose secured the last Lions run, scoring on Stallworth’s hit to right field. It was a game full of explosive offense and smart defensive plays.
“Our pitcher, Max, did a great job on seven innings,” head coach Dean Glus said. “We hit the ball very well today, but we also had about six or seven double plays. We combined good hitting, good pitching and good defense and with that you’re going to win games like this.”
Aside from being an overall successful game for the Lions, freshman utility player Lloyd Padmore, Cardona and Stallworth also collected their first collegiate hits in a Lions uniform.
“Actually, today we had four guys with their first college hits,” Glus said. “So, it’s a big day. We also had the Harold Eickhoff Star Athlete award go to (senior infielder) Alex Christian, so that’s something we talked about postgame. Overall, the guys fought hard in terms of making their adjustments in game, and we made great pitches.”
The Harold Eickhoff Star Athlete award is given annually to the College’s top senior male scholar-athlete.
The following Thursday, the Lions narrowly defeated the Ospreys, 3-1, at Galloway, N.J. Junior pitcher Brandon Zachary led the victory, striking out 10 batters. The next day, the Lions blanked the Ospreys at George Ackerman Park, 5-0. Freshman pitcher Michael Walley grabbed his first win as a Lion and struck out five ospreys. Meanwhile, senior catcher CJ Gearhart collected three hits.
At Montclair State University the team, snatched two conference wins against the Red Hawks, 9-3 and 10-4, on Saturday. The Lions are currently 20-6 and first place in the NJAC. So far this season, six Lions have recorded 20 or more hits. Junior pitcher Matt Curry leads the Lions pitching staff with five wins followed by Fischer with four.
The Lions will be traveling down to Glassboro, N.J., for a match against Rowan University on Thursday, April 20. The next home games for the Lions will be on Friday, April 21, against the Profs at 3:30 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday, April 22, against New Jersey City University at 11:30 a.m.