By Miguel Gonzalez and Alexander Reich
Sports Editor and Staff Writer
After capturing the New Jersey Athletic Conference title, winning more than 30 games and reaching the NCAA Division III regional championship last year, the College’s baseball team opened a new season with a 10-4 victory over Gwynedd Mercy University on Feb. 28 at George Ackerman Park.
The Lions’ starting pitcher, junior Michael Fischer, had a slow start as he walked the first batter. He then committed an error trying to pick off the runner at first base. The first inning made the Lions anxious with Gwynedd Mercy powering through with hits and smart baserunning.
Gwynedd Mercy scored first with an RBI single and a wild pitch to take an early 2-0 lead. The Lions countered in the bottom of the first inning when senior utility player Austin Lindsay hit a line drive into center field to cut the Lions deficit to 2-1. The Lions kept firing away as senior outfielder Mike Follet smacked a base hit to right field to tie the game at two.
The Lions still had momentum going into the next batter when junior infielder Tommy McCarthy hit a double to put the Lions ahead of Gwynedd Mercy, 3-2. In the bottom of the second inning, the Lions struggled to score as easily as they did in the first inning.
Going into the bottom of the third, sophomore outfielder Jacob Simon made a great effort to hit a single and steal second base. The Lions could not take advantage of Simon’s baserunning as sophomore pitcher Michael Walley grounded out to end the inning.
Afterward, the baseball team produced run after run on their way to a 10-4 win.
On the mound, Fischer ended up pitching 5.2 innings. Offensively, McCarthy ended up having an impressive game going three-for-three at the plate with three RBIs and a run scored.
Junior pitcher Andrew Rowan was impressed by the team’s offensive performance.
“We played well today, our hitters were seeing the ball well,” Rowan said. “Putting up 10 runs in our first game against a team that has a few games under their belt is a great way to open the season.”
Rowan also credited Fischer’s powerful pitching for the win.
“Our pitchers did well too, Fischer battled through to get to the sixth inning which allowed our bullpen to carry us the rest of the way,” Rowan said. “Overall, it was a great team win, and we will continue that momentum into this weekend for a double header versus Keene State.”
The planned doubleheader against Keene State was canceled due to weather conditions. Despite the altered schedule, Simon was glad to be back at the field.
“It was really great to finally get out there and kick off the year,” Simon said. “We worked really hard in the offseason and preseason and it was really nice to see it come together out there.
Simon also acknowledged the substantial effort from each individual team member that helped the team take such a commanding lead, and ultimately win the game.
“We played a complete team game today,” Simon said. “The pitching was there, and the bats were alive and we were very solid defensively. We got down early in the first, but we answered right back and did a great job building on the lead throughout the later innings.”