By Malcolm Luck and Alexander Reich
Sports Editor and Sports Writer
Following back-to-back losses against Aurora University and Concordia University Chicago on March 10 and 11, the Lions bounced back with seven consecutive wins in Winter Haven, Florida.
The first win came on March 12 against the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Following seven innings of shutout pitching from senior pitcher Brandon Zachary, junior pitcher Zac deRocco coughed up the lead. He gave up two earned runs as the opponents tied the game, 2-2. However, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Lions regained the lead after senior utility player Austin Lindsay smacked a go-ahead RBI single to center field to pull ahead 3-2. Senior pitcher Matt Curry came back to the mound in the ninth to secure the win.
Fueled by a clutch late inning performance, the Lions followed up with back-to-back 15-1 and 16-2 blowout wins at the expense of Utica College in their March 13 doubleheader.
In the first of the two games, junior infielder Danny Borup brought energy to the top of the lineup, starting off the game by lacing a double to left field. He came in to score following senior infielder Zachary Shindler's RBI groundout. The double was the first of his four hits in the afternoon along with his three runs scored. Altogether, the Lions stung Utica junior pitcher Noah Martin for 10 hits and 10 runs over his four inning performance.
Junior pitcher Andrew Rowan closed the window on Utica’s offensive optimism, holding them to four hits and one unearned run over seven innings.
The second game of the doubleheader was more of the same with a majority of the offensive production coming from the second, third and fourth spots of the College’s lineup. Sophomore outfielder Thomas Persichetti, Shindler and Lindsay combined for 10 hits, 13 RBIs and eight runs scored to bury Utica. Freshman pitcher Tim Schumacher received the win.
The blowout wins were contrasted by a trio of closely contested games, yielding 2-0, 4-1 and 4-0 victories.
The first win came against the University of Southern Maine on Thursday, March 15. Junior infielder Tommy McCarthy put the Lions on the board in the first inning with an RBI single to left field. Borup added another RBI single to left field in the eighth to add an insurance run, which was ultimately a moot point on the heels of senior pitcher Joe Cirillo’s eight shutout innings. Curry came on in the ninth for a 1-2-3 inning to secure the save.
The back-to-back victories against Suffolk University on Friday, March 16 were once again attributed to tremendous pitching. In the first game, junior pitcher Michael Fischer pitched for six strong innings, allowing one earned run while tallying nine strikeouts. In the second game, sophomore pitcher Michael Walley threw six innings of his own, allowing no runs. Curry closed out the final two outs of the game, adding his second save of the week.
Following the close games, the Lions’ bats came to life to close out the spring trip on Saturday, March 17 against Knox College.
The Lions took advantage of early mistakes by Knox to get on the scoreboard. Following a single by Borup, he came around to score following an error by Knox’s second baseman. Knox tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of a wild pitch from Zachary.
The offense made up for it in the top half of the second inning, tacking on two additional runs off the bat of Borup’s two-run double to left field. In the top of the third, the Lions added four more following McCarthy’s RBI groundout, senior outfielder Mike Follet’s RBI single, a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Zachary showed his appreciation for his offense by clamping down on Knox, tossing eight innings while only allowing two runs and collecting 13 strikeouts.
The Lions look to continue the team’s momentum in a game against Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, March 21.