The Lions have to do a lot of catching-up in the coming weeks.
After three postponements due to nasty weather, the College’s baseball team battled Montclair State University (MSU) in a doubleheader Sunday, losing 3-1 in a conference opener, and winning 9-8 in the nightcap.
The first loss set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, as the Lions consistently struggled to catch-up and even out the score with the Red Hawks.
After just losing to MSU a half hour before, the Lions found themselves down 4-0 in the second inning of the nightcap.
“In this situation, we were just feeling feeble,” head coach Rick Dell said.
Before the Lions were able to turn the game around, and before junior outfielder Jason Gumnitz slid into home base, giving the Lions the winning run over MSU in the eighth, the Lions had to try to play catch-up with the Red Hawks.
In the third inning, the Red Hawks’ solid 4-0 lead was compromised when the Lions tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom.
Again, in the fifth, the Lions battled back to tie it at 7-7, and once more in the eighth inning to tie it at 8-8.
“We kept playing, we kept scoring. We came back at them,” Dell said. “I thought we did a good job of staying in the competition.”
“There were a lot of times when we could have gave up, and say it’s not in the cards for us,” he added. “The fact that we didn’t die and give up, I thought that this shows a lot of character.”
With Gumnitz’s run, the score stood at 9-8 as the Lions went into the ninth. The Lions struggled to retain their small lead through the final pitches of the game.
“When you get into that position, it’s all about taking it one pitch at a time, and just try to relax,” junior catcher Sergio Sencion said.
Red Hawks 3, Lions 1
In the earlier game, the Lions found themselves also struggling to catch-up with the Red Hawks.
MSU took an early 1-0 lead, and did not look back, scoring twice more in the third, off a double and a walk.
The Lions fell short, earning only one run in the bottom half of the first inning.
MSU’s junior pitcher Jeff Gogal kept the Lion’s scoring low, striking out nine batters.
“Gogal really pitched an outstanding game,” Dell said.
Gogal, 4-1, went nine innings for the Red Hawks. Lion Matt Szustowicz, junior pitcher, fell to 3-2 with six innings, fanning nine and giving up the three runs.
Junior pitcher Julius Jenkins finished the game striking out five with no hits.
The Lions play a home game against Ursinus College on Wednesday, April 16 at 3:30 p.m. and on Thursday, April 17 against Rutgers University-Newark at 3:30 p.m.