By Malcolm Luck
The Lions began an action-packed slate of six games in six days by taking on Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania on April 9.
The team’s bats cracked early in the first inning when sophomore outfielder Thomas Persichetti and senior outfielder Zachary Shindler launched a flurry of base hits to put players on first and third base with only one out.
The team then built a 3-0 lead when senior utility player Austin Lindsay smacked an RBI single. Sophomore outfielder Jacob Simon followed up with an RBI double while junior infielder Tommy McCarthy contributed with an RBI groundout.
The Lions maintained a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth when starting pitcher junior Andrew Rowan began to stumble. Rowan allowed the first five batters of the inning to reach base, followed by two RBI groundouts, a double and another groundout to end the inning. He was charged with five earned runs in the inning.
Alvernia’s seven runs proved to be the magic number as the Lions failed to close the deficit, ultimately losing, 7-6. Just one day later in Farmingdale, New York, the Lions were on the opposite end of a momentum-shifting offensive inning.
With the Lions pitted against Farmingdale State University on April 10, freshman pitcher Tim Schumacher started the game for the Lions, but lasted just one-third of an inning, getting shelled for five hits and six unearned runs while allowing three walks. The early 6-2 deficit proved to be no challenge for the Lions.
By the top of the sixth inning, the College was down 6-9 when Lindsay lined an RBI single to right to decrease the deficit. Following Simon walking to first base, McCarthy stepped into a crucial situation.
With the team down by two runs, the bases loaded and no one out, McCarthy ripped a three-run triple to right field to give his team a 10-9 lead.
Despite Farmingdale sending in a new pitcher, McCarthy remained calm and focused on driving critical runs.
“My approach that at-bat was just to try and get something I could drive and get in the air to try and score the runner from third somehow,” McCarthy said. “With a new pitcher coming in for that at-bat, I knew he was going to try and get ahead in the count so I was sitting on a fastball and got the pitch I wanted and went for it.”
The Lions didn’t look back. The team added three more runs in the sixth inning to take a commanding 13-9 lead and carried the lead to victory.
McCarthy highlights the importance of comeback victories like this for the team’s confidence.
“Those comebacks are huge because we know we’re never out of a game no matter what the score is,” McCarthy said. “It shows the team how when one of us doesn’t have our best stuff, somebody will pick us up and come through.”
The win over Farmingdale sparked a winning-streak for the Lions. The team took on New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent Stockton University on Thursday, April 12 and edged out a late 3-2 victory.
In the sixth, Lindsay hit a two-run homer to left field to give the Lions a 2-0 lead. Sophomore pitcher Michael Walley gave up a game-tying double in the top of the seventh inning, but the resilient Lions regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth on the heels of a one-out RBI triple by senior infielder Patrick Anderson.
Senior pitcher Matt Curry secured the win in the ninth with a save. The close call against Stockton proved to be temporary. In Galloway, New Jersey on Friday, April 13, the Lions’ offense unloaded for a dominant 20-2 victory over Stockton, collecting five runs in the first inning and seven runs in the eighth.
In Saturday’s doubleheader against Montclair State University at George Ackerman Park on April 14, the Lions played another tense game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Lindsay claimed the Lions’ first run off an RBI double. Anderson added one more with a sacrifice fly to left field to extend the lead to 2-0.
In the top of the sixth, Montclair State knotted the game back at 2-2 following a passed ball and an RBI single. The Lions came roaring back in the bottom of the seventh, adding three more runs when Persichetti got an RBI after being hit by a pitch. Shindler then got an RBI single and the Lions secured another run off an error by Montclair’s shortstop.
Despite Montclair State scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, Curry once again held on for his fifth save of the season, giving the Lions a 5-4 victory.
As the field heated up with bright sunshine, the Lions offense torched Montclair at back end of the doubleheader with an assertive 12-2 victory. The Lions scored five runs in the first inning and held a 12-0 lead in the seventh before allowing Montclair State two runs in the top of the eighth. Senior pitcher Brandon Zachary got credit for the win, only allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings.
With the end of the regular season less than two weeks away, the Lions look to transition into playoff form with conference opponent Rowan University on Thursday, April 19 at George Ackerman Park on Thursday, April 19.
The Lions then travel to Glassboro, New Jersey to play Rowan again on Friday, April 20. The team follows up with a doubleheader against New Jersey City University on Saturday, April 21 in Jersey City, New Jersey.