By Maximillian C. Burgos
The Lions baseball team snapped their three-game losing streak by winning their last three games. Their late push clinched the top seed in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Lions started off the week with a 10-5 loss against Gwynedd Mercy University on April 24. They then conceded another loss to Arcadia University, 9-3, on Wednesday, April 26.
They returned home and defeated the William Paterson University Pioneers, 2-1, on Thursday, April 27. Then the Lions traveled to Wayne, N.J. and outlasted the Pioneers, 6-5, on Friday, April 28. The team ended the regular season at home against Kean University and swept the Cougars, 14-1 and 9-4.
In the first game of their exhaustive week, the Lions fell to Gwynedd Mercy University, 10-5. They played a solid game with several standout solo performances, despite the score.
Junior infielder Patrick Anderson recovered from his injury and went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and went six for his last eight at-bats.
After the team strung together three hits in the first inning, junior utility Austin Lindsay hit an RBI and allowed freshman outfielder Thomas Persichetti to score the Lions first run. Junior infielder Zachary Shindler reached base safely for the 23rd straight game after ripping a hit to right field. In the midst, sophomore infielder Ryan Fischer increased the Lions lead to two.
The Lions then traveled to Arcadia University on Wednesday, April 26 and lost a rough game, 9-3. The Lions started flat, giving up seven runs in the first three innings. The loss marked the first time in the season that the Lions dropped three consecutive games.
During the loss, freshman catcher David Cardona III hit his first career home run as a Lion in the fifth inning. The Lions offense did not produce too much, only scoring three runs in the game.
Playing against William Paterson University at George Ackerman Park on Thursday, April 27, the Lions held off the Pioneers in a tight defensive game. The Lions took the lead in the ninth inning, 2-1, but it was a nail-biter all the way to the end.
Junior pitcher Brandon Zachary had another strong outing for the Lions, striking out four batters and allowing only three hits. Junior pitcher Matt Curry wrapped the game up and shutted down the last two batters, giving him his sixth save of the season.
Shindler put the Lions on board in the third inning with an RBI-single. Sophomore infielder Tommy McCarthy pulled a clutch walk-off hit to win the game for the Lions in the ninth inning.
The Lions and Pioneers continued to play until the last pitch on the following day. McCarthy came through in the second straight day with a double to score two runs in the eighth inning for the Lions 6-5 win.
The Lions to started to manufacture runs to earn an early lead in the first inning. The Pioneers answered by scoring twice in the fourth and fifth inning. McCarthy tripled and then scored on a heads-up play when the Pioneers pitcher threw a wild pitch to put the Lions ahead.
Freshman pitcher Nickolas Kleftogiannis pitched two scoreless innings and earned the victory. Curry came into the game to wrap it up and managed to lower his ERA to 0.23.
The Lions came home on Saturday to wrap up the regular season against Kean University. The Lions swept the Cougars in the doubleheader, helping them clinch the top seed in the NJAC.
There were three standouts in the doubleheader. Junior infielder Patrick Anderson had a big weekend, going 6-for-9 and batting with two RBIs and three runs. Junior outfielder Mike Follet scored four RBIs and four runs while batting 4-for-8. Freshman outfielder Jacob Simon also stood out among batters with five RBIs, four hits, and two runs.
The first game was nothing short of a blowout. The Lions won 14-1 with a stellar performance from junior pitcher Joe Cirillo. Cirillo threw his fifth complete-game victory, striking out three batters. The win puts his season record at 5-0 and his career record at 19-3, giving him the sixth highest overall record in Lions history.
The first game was blown open in the fifth inning when the Lions rallied for 6 runs and 7 runs in the seventh inning. Only one run was allowed by Lions defense, allowing the 14-1 score to hold for a major conference win.
In the second game, the Lions secured a 9-4 victory and sophomore pitcher Michael Fischer got his sixth win of the season.
The game was highly contested until the seventh inning when the Lions rallied for five runs, blowing the game open for a win. Shindler hit his sixth triple of the season. It was his twelfth triple of his career, making him the third overall triples hitter. Curry wrapped the game up by striking out the last two batters.
The baseball team now hopes to continue their success into the postseason. The Lions play William Paterson University at home on Tuesday, May 2, for their first NJAC Tournament game.