Lions beat Montclair State, Volpe shines

By Miguel Gonzalez
Photo Editor

The Lions continued to blast their opponents this week, defeating Penn State Abington and Montclair State University on the road. The team then split a doubleheader against Ramapo College and received its first loss in eight games. It capped off the week with a another victory against Montclair State.  

As of April 1, the team is currently ranked 14th in the nation by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Kelly strikes out seven against Penn State Abington (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk).

Heading west to Abington, Pennsylvania on April 2, the Lions dismantled Penn State Abington 15-5. The offense scored six runs in the top of the second inning and never looked back.

In the top of the third, junior outfielder Jacob Simon hammered a three-run home run and increased the Lions’ lead to 9-0. While Penn State Abington scored two runs in the following inning, the team never posed a comeback attempt.

The team further extended its lead to 14-2 in the top of the fifth when senior infielder Ryan Fischer, junior catcher David Cardona III and Simon all capitalized on errors and landed at home plate. While the offense sizzled, freshman pitcher Tom Kelly regulated Penn State Abington to only two runs and struck out seven batters.

The Lions then earned a conference victory at Montclair State to extend their winning streak to eight on Thursday, April 4. Both squads fought in a low scoring battle for five innings. The Lions then broke through in the top of the fifth when senior infielder Danny Borup smacked a single through center infield and drove a run. With the team holding onto a 2-1 lead, Simon changed the tone of the game.

With Borup and sophomore outfielder Avery Epstein on second and third base, Simon ripped a triple to right field and scored two runs. Cardona III followed up by hitting an single and allowing Epstein to score the team’s fifth run. Senior pitcher Dylan Crowley helped the Lions seal a 6-2 victory by limiting Montclair State to only one run.   

The team then headed north to Mahwah, New Jersey for a doubleheader against Ramapo College on Saturday, April 6. In the first game, Ramapo College junior pitcher Kevin Stewart froze the Lions’ offense, striking out 10 batters and holding them scoreless for seven innings. While the Lions did score two runs in the top of the eighth, the effort came too late, as they lost 7-2.

During the game, Borup reached a milestone when he recorded his 100th hit with a single at the top of the eighth inning.

In the second game, the Lions immediately bounced back and defeated Ramapo, 6-3. With the game tied 3-3 at the top of the eighth inning, Cardona III hit a double and secured a run for Borup.

Junior infielder Gary Otten added another run when he smacked a single to left field. Fischer then extended to Lions lead to 6-3 off a single. Senior pitcher Zac deRocco sealed the win at the top of the ninth with two strikeouts.

In a rescheduled home game at George Ackerman Park on Sunday, April 7, the team blanked Montclair State, 3-0. Freshman infielder/pitcher Matt Volpe held Montclair State scoreless for five innings and whiffed six batters. While the team only scored three runs, the Lions pitching staff shunned Montclair and captured the 3-0 win.

Heading into mid-April, the baseball team carries a 17-3 overall record as of this past weekend. The Lions compete against Stockton University on Thursday, April 11 at home.

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