By Jacob Malik
The men’s baseball team kicked off its season on the road this weekend against the 17th ranked Randolph-Macon College, getting off to a rocky start after dropping all three opening games to their opponent.
The team lost by scores of 8-4 and 12-6 on Saturday, Feb. 29 in a double header and lost in a 12-inning heartbreaker Sunday, March 1 by a final score of 5-4.
In the first game, the Lions were able to jump out to an early 1-0 lead when senior Thomas Perischetti scored on a wild pitch. However, the next three runs belonged to Randolph-Macon as the team scored two in the third and another in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. The Lions sound tied it up with a single from Senior David Cardona III in the sixth and the third and final run in the seventh when senior Garry Otten scored on a fielding error.
In the seventh inning, the team saw the game slip away. The Lions let up four runs on just two hits, giving Randolph-Macon a 7-3 lead.
Feliepe was then pulled and subsequently replaced by junior David Stec, who went in during the seventh and pitched through the eighth, giving up one run in the process and making the score 8-3. In a last-ditch effort in the top of the ninth, the Lions scored one run on a wild pitch, but still lose, 8-4.
In the second game, Randolph-Macon scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth, all of which were unearned. The opponents further padded this lead with another run, making it a 5-0 game.
Despite already being down 5-0, the Lions clawed their way back into the game with three runs in the third and another two in the fifth. In the third, Cardona III hit a single sending junior Aydon Chavis home and senior Jacob Simon crushed a triple, allowing both Cardona III and junior Avery Epstein to score. Later on in the 3rd, Otten hit a single that allowed Simon to score and bring the Lions to within 1. Simon would strike again in the 5th with a sacrifice fly that would score Cardon III and tie the game at 5.
The bottom of the sixth was the final inning of work for sophomore Matt Volpe, and Randolph-Macon managed to score one more unearned run before the inning ended to take a 6-5 lead. Volpe’s final line consisted of five innings pitched, seven hits, six runs, one earned run and three strikeouts.
In the seventh inning, the Lions tied the game back up at six with a ground-out by sophomore Joe Oczkowki, with Simon scoring on the fielders’ choice. After a perfect sixth inning, freshman pitcher Nicholas Scerbo let up six hits while allowing six earned runs that gave Randolph-Macon a commanding 12-6 lead. After a clean and scoreless eighth inning, the game was called due to it being too dark outside, allowing Randolph-Macon to sweep the double-header.
The third game of this three-game set was nothing like the first set. The first five innings were a pitchers duel, with sophomore Tom Kelly on the mound. In total, he let up seven hits with just two earned runs and five strikeouts.
The first sign of life would come in the top of the sixth when Cardona III continued to contribute with a groundout that allowed Epstein to score on a fielder’s choice and give the Lions a 1-0 lead. RMC would soon tie the game at one in the seventh.
The Lions would score two more runs in the eighth to take a 3-1 lead. The first run was a solo home run by Simon, this would be then followed by a single by Oczkowski that would allow Otten to score. Randolph-Macon would go on to get one run back in the eighth and then tie it in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
The extra 10th and 11th innings were silent, but the 12th inning was where the action was. In the top of the 12th, Cardona III added to his successful weekend and drove in a run with a single that scored Persichetti and gave the Lions a 4-3 lead.
The opponents would tie the game on a sacrifice fly, which would be followed by back-to-back walks to load the bases. The next batter would be hit by the pitch and this would force in the game winning run for Randolph-Macon as the Lions would lose a heartbreaker 5-4 in 12 innings.
After a rough 0-3 start to the season, the Lions will look to redeem themselves and pick up their first win on Tuesday, March 3 against Ursinus College.