By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor
After a successful week in sunny Florida, the College’s baseball team came back to a busy schedule, including a doubleheader on Sunday, March 29. Despite the rain, the Lions were able to win two out of four of their games and improve their record to 7-7.
The Lions took on Alvernia University on Wednesday, March 25, and were led by junior pitcher Evan Edelman. Edelman was able to scatter just seven hits over nine innings to shut out Alvernia. Edelman struck out five batters, issued zero walks and allowed only two batters to reach second base during his nine-inning stretch on the mound.
The College’s offense put the team on the board in the first inning of the game. Leadoff hitter junior John Rizzi and sophomore C.J. Gearheart got on base with a couple of walks. Following a balk by the Alvernia pitcher, both were able to move up to third and second. Senior Anthony Cocuzza shot a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing Rizzi in for the 1-0 lead.
Alvernia’s defense was not together during the game, which the Lions took advantage of in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Ben Varone dropped down a bunt for a base hit and made it to second base after an off-balanced throw by the Alvernia catcher. Rizzi stepped up to the plate and, with a sacrifice bunt, moved Varone over to third. On the play, the pitcher threw the ball away, allowing Varone to coast home and score the second run of the game. With two outs in the inning, junior Garen Turner doubled to right-center field to score Rizzi, putting the Lions up 3-0.
The Lions’ defense was flashing the leather as they made great defensive plays throughout the game. In the bottom of the eighth, senior Mike Murray caught a hard line drive and fired the ball to first, doubling off the runner.
Junior Patrick Roberts had a tremendous game on Friday, March 27, against Haverford College. The outfielder had three home runs in a huge 10-1 win against 9-1 Haverford.
Once again, the Lions were on the scoreboard early in the game, putting up two runs with two outs in the first. Cocuzza walked and moved to second on an error that put Turner on first. Senior Josh Limon singled to center field, plating Cocuzza and Turner and putting up a quick two runs for the team.
Roberts stepped up to the plate in the third with Cocuzza on first after a walk. With two outs, Roberts hit a line shot over the right-center field fence.
In the fourth, Roberts entered the batters box again with runners on the bases and two outs. Roberts drilled his second homer over the scoreboard in right making the score 8-1.
After Roberts worked the count full in the ninth, he hit a solo bomb that traveled far over the scoreboard. Roberts is now hitting .452 this season.
On the mound, freshman Joe Cirillo pitched six scoreless innings. He allowed the opposing team only seven hits and walked none.
After the two games were rescheduled due to weather, the Lions played their home opener against Kean University on Sunday, March 29. The team suffered a pair of losses against the 15-4 team.
In the first game, Kean got on the board early with a run in the first and continued tacking on runs throughout the game from there, scoring four in the second.
The Lions tried to come back in the bottom of the fourth, with Cocuzza starting it off by hitting an infield single and then stealing second. Turner stepped up and doubled to left, bringing Cocuzza in to score. Roberts followed with a base hit to left-center field to move up Turner. Limon shot a long fly to left, and Turner came into home to score the second run. Junior Matt Facas would eventually single to right field, scoring Roberts and making it 7-3.
Despite the effort, the team was unable to take home the win, and senior pitcher Connor Smith took the loss.
In the second game, the Lions came close, leading the game until Kean tied the game at five apiece in the fifth inning. The College allowed five unearned runs to score, giving Kean their 10-5 win.
The Lions are set to take on Stockton University at home on Thursday, April 2.