By Miguel Gonzalez
The baseball team encountered setbacks this week, losing three games against Ursinus College, Arcadia University and Rutgers University-Camden. During their senior and alumni day on Saturday, April 27, the Lions took a win and a loss against Kean University. The Lions first faced a tough 7-5 loss to Ursinus at George Ackerman Park on April 22.
Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the team climbed back to send the game to extra innings. Senior outfielder Matt Giacose hit a single and drove a run to cut Ursinus’ lead to 5-3. Freshman outfielder Grant Sible then reduced the deficit by one off a single. With one out, senior infielder Danny Borup hit a grounder and gave enough time for freshman outfielder Joey Cruciata to score and tie the game at six. While the Lions pushed the game to extra innings, they ultimately lost 7-5 after Ursinus scored two runs in the top of the 11th inning.
On a road trip to Glenside, Pennsylvania, the team was upset by Arcadia. From the first to the sixth inning, sophomore pitcher Joseph Felipe limited the opponents to just two runs while striking out five batters. Meanwhile, the Lions’ offense utilized multiple singles and a home run by junior outfielder Thomas Persichetti to establish a 4-2 lead. Heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, Arcadia staged a furious rally and gained a 6-4 lead. In the top of the eighth, Persichetti ripped a triple and closed the lead to 6-5. Junior outfielder Jacob Simon then hit a sacrifice fly and drove in the tying run. Starting with a single in the bottom of the eighth, Arcadia blasted the team and scored a whopping eight runs. Arcadia’s response would prove to be too much, as the College lost 14-6.
The team’s struggles would continue into Thursday, April 25 when the Lions conceded to Rutgers-Camden 8-5 on the road. The team tried to battle back from another deficit, as Rutgers-Camden led 8-2 in the top of the sixth.
The Lions attempted to stage a rally in the top of the ninth. Down to the last out, Persichetti batted in a run off a single. At the next at-bat, junior catcher David Cardona III banged a two-run home run. However, Rutgers-Camden junior pitcher Keith Jacobs then forced a groundout and sealed the loss for the Lions.
Returning to George Ackerman Park on Saturday, April 27, the team split a doubleheader against Kean University. The Lions won the first match 4-3 thanks to a strong performance by junior pitcher Peter Nielsen, who threw a complete game and struck out three batters. While the Lions had difficulty getting through Kean’s pitcher, the bottom of the ninth proved to be pivotal for them. With Giacose on first and Simon on third, Giacose stole second base. When Kean’s defense made a throwing error, both players sprinted to home plate and scored the clinching runs. In the second game, the team could not outlast Kean in an offensive battle. Down 14-12 in the bottom of the ninth, Kean’s closing pitcher shut down the Lions and sealed their loss.
On Monday, April 29 the team came out on top against Rutgers University-Camden in a 17-5 victory during a rescheduled game. The Lions now move to take on Ramapo College in the first round of the NJAC playoffs on Tuesday, April 30.