By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor
The College’s baseball team stumbled this past week, losing both games on the schedule. The team began the week playing against Widener University and finished off the week playing against Stockton University. But even with the losses, the team still fought hard and never gave up.
Widener came into the game hot, scoring one run in the first against Lions’ senior pitcher John Spinapont on Wednesday April 1.
The College responded by scoring two runs to take the lead in the top of the second. Senior Josh Limon started the inning off with a single up the middle, reaching. Senior Michael Murray and sophomore C.J. Gearhart both followed with singles. With two outs on the board, sophomore Ben Varone slapped a single to the left base side, bringing home Murray and Gearhart.
Widener fired back by scoring two more runs in the bottom of the second, retaking the lead, 3-2.
The Lions were able to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Junior Garen Turner singled to left-center. Limon stepped up to the plate and hit the ball to right-center field, making that his second hit for the day and moving Turner from first to third. Junior Matt Facas drove the ball up the middle, and Turner coasted to home with the tying run.
Spinapont went five innings, allowing only three runs and seven hits while striking out one. Freshman Brandon Zachary took over in the sixth, using a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning.
Widener took the lead in the seventh, starting off the inning with a double and a base hit to left, scoring a run in the process. The final score of the game was 5-3, Widener.
Yet with the loss, the Lions played pretty good baseball. Limon ended the game with three hits and freshman Mike Follet recorded his first hit of his collegiate season.
“As I tell the players every year, there are going to be up and downs and we can’t get too down when things are going they way that we have planned,” Head Coach Dean Glus said. “Stay the course and when you work hard, you will see the benefits. We stay focused on the positive things that the team is doing and work on the items that we haven’t done so well and improve in those areas.”
It was a windy but sunny day as the Lions took the field for the second game of the week against Stockton on Thursday, April 2, at George Ackerman Park.
The Lions came out of the gate swinging, scoring four consecutive hits and three runs in the first inning. Junior John Rizzi smacked a double off the base of the fence in left to start the inning. Gearhart followed with a base hit to left. Senior Anthony Cocuzza hit a double down the left-field line to bring Rizzi home, giving the College a 1-0 lead. Turner was up next and lined a base hit to right, making it a 2-0 game. Cocuzza rounded home on a double-play groundball, and the Lions had themselves an early 3-0 lead.
It was the third inning that caused the Lions some trouble. Stockton had five hits off freshman pitcher Joe Cirillo and ultimately scored six runs, four of which were unearned. Stockton was up 6-4 after the third inning.
Cirillo cited after the game that his main problems were that he “didn’t locate well” and that he just needed to “focus more.”
“(The) change-up was doing good today,” Cirillo said. “I felt good in the bullpen.”
Despite the difficult third, Cirillo would battle back, leaving the game after six and a third innings. In the seventh, Cirillo stepped out on the mound and quickly struck out the first batter looking. Cheers erupted from his teammates as the batter watched the ball shoot past him into Facas’ glove. Junior Joseph DiLorenzo was handed the ball after Cirillo gave up a base hit to first. DiLorenzo worked his way out of the inning after Limon grabbed a grounded ball and flipped it to DiLorenzo for the out at first.
Cirillo allowed five earned runs, struck out four and only walked one in the 9-4 loss to Stockton. Cirillo noted after the game that he’s going to step out on the mound for his next start with more focus.
“(I’ll) go out there and be the pitcher I know I can be, and my teammates will back me up,” Cirillo said.