No Love For Rams Baseball on Philadelphia Road Trip

Photo+by+DREW+DIPANE%2FTHE+RAM+Tim+Swatek++was+2-4+at+the+plate+and+pitched+2.2+scoreless+innings+against+St.+Joe%E2%80%99s+to+help+break+the+Rams%E2%80%99+losing+streak.
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No Love For Rams Baseball on Philadelphia Road Trip

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek  was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

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By DOMINIC KEARNS

STAFF WRITER

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek  was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

Photo by DREW DIPANE/THE RAM Tim Swatek was 2-4 at the plate and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings against St. Joe’s to help break the Rams’ losing streak.

On March 20, the Rams looked to notch their 11th win against the Hofstra Pride. Fordham lost seven straight games before claiming its 11th win, however, and faces an uphill battle in its quest to reach the Atlantic 10 tournament.

The Rams started well against Hofstra with a second inning run. With the bases loaded and one out, freshman Joseph Runco delivered an RBI groundout. However, the Rams missed a chance to add to the advance when sophomore Matthew Cianci grounded out with the bases loaded. After that, both offenses sputtered, and Fordham led 1-0 after the fifth inning. Fordham junior J.C. Porter allowed just two hits in those innings, but Hofstra tied the game in the sixth on its own RBI groundout. The teams battled until the eighth, when the Pride broke the deadlock against Porter. After he gave up a single and a walk, senior Rich Anastasi came in to minimize the damage. However, the Pride continued their rally when freshman Joseph DeVito made an error on a potential inning-ending double play. The wheels continued to fall off when freshman Ian Edmiston made a throwing error on a ground ball to first. After the two errors, Fordham trailed 4-1. The Rams had no answer in the final innings and dropped a 5-1 decision.

“We kinda made a couple boots in the field, which happens,” freshman Charles Galiano said. “We should have shown a little more fire in the last two innings as far as offense, but what are you gonna do? We’re gonna scratch today and get ready for conference.”

Fordham looked to bounce back against A-10 rival LaSalle, but the Explorers won three consecutive pitchers’ duels. The Friday game started nicely for Fordham, when freshman Joseph DeVito drove in a second inning run with his two-out single. Nonetheless, the Explorers countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning when Matt Welling blasted a three-run homer off senior Joseph Charest. The Rams made it 3-2 when senior Mike Mauri tripled home junior Tim Swatek in the third, but Fordham stranded Mauri at third after freshman Ryan McNally and senior Joseph Conway could not bring him in. After that, Charest and Explorer starter Ryan Donohue engaged in a pitcher’s duel that stymied each offense. Pat Christensen pitched 2.2 innings of crucial relief for LaSalle and stranded three Fordham runners in scoring position for a deserved save. In the eighth, the Explorers added another run on a two-out double, and disposed of the Rams 4-2.

Fordham junior Chris Pike tossed a four-hit complete game the following day, but took a hard-luck loss. LaSalle again bunched runs together in an early inning to set the tone. This time, Kevin Baron gave the Explorers a 2-0 edge in the third frame with his two-out single to centerfield. The hit came with runners on second and third. Meanwhile, Explorer starter Shane Hollman shut Fordham out for six innings and allowed just three hits. Fordham halved LaSalle’s advantage in the eighth but missed chances to produce more offense. The Rams had runners at second and third with no outs for Swatek, and he drove in a run with his RBI groundout. Yet Mauri’s grounder and Galiano’s strikeout kept LaSalle ahead. The Explorers scored an unearned insurance run in the eighth when their runner stole third base and raced home after Galiano’s pickoff throw went into leftfield. The Rams then fell meekly in the ninth, and lost a 3-1 decision.

In the series finale, Fordham again fell behind early and could not muster enough offense to complete a comeback. Fordham freshamn Joseph Serrapica ran into trouble in the third inning and nearly allowed the Explorers to blow the game open. Matt Welling hit his second homer of the series to lead off, and the Explorers had five runners reach base. With the score at 2-0, Serrapica escaped further trouble by getting two consecutive outs with the bases loaded. In the fourth inning, LaSalle received a crucial gift run, as their runner scored from first when Matt Cianci dropped a two-out fly ball in right field. Fordham scored once in the fifth inning when Cianci produced a sacrifice fly, but the Rams left two runners on base. While Fordham struggled at the plate, its relievers delivered three scoreless innings to keep the game close. The Rams continued to fight back, and Joseph DeVito scored Fordham’s second run in the seventh after knocking a double down the left field line. Yet the eighth inning saw Fordham’s best chance go to waste. After Galiano led off with a double, Fordham loaded the bases with two outs for DeVito. But, he went down on a called third strike, and the Rams were stymied again by Explorer closer Pat Christensen for a 3-2 defeat.

“We just haven’t been able to get that big hit, and it seems like every time we have guys on, or guys in scoring position, there are two outs and you need to get a hit to score the run,” Fordham head coach Kevin Leighton said. “[But] our starters have done a decent job of keeping us in games and giving us a chance to win.”

On March 26, Fordham traveled to scenic Poughkeepsie to battle the Marist Red Foxes, and the Foxes cruised to victory. Marist scored the game’s first run in the second inning, courtesy of a two-out Graham McIntire single. After that, each offense was held entirely in check until the fifth inning, when Marist busted the game open with four runs. Rich Anastasi had pitched 2.2 innings of solid relief when the wheels fell off. Four consecutive Red Foxes reached base, and the scoring barrage culminated when Eric Helmrich crushed a 2 RBI double into right-centerfield. Marist added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings en route to a 7-1 romp. Senior Dan Sorine provided a spark for Fordham with his solo home run in the ninth, but Marist never felt threatened in its win.

Fordham traveled back to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s in a key weekend series, but the bats continued to fail Fordham in its dire offensive slump. On March 29, the Rams were victimized by Hawks starter Jordan Carter, who pitched a complete game and allowed only one unearned run. Joseph Charest did not fare so well, and Fordham quickly fell behind. After the Hawks scored one run in the first frame, St. Joe’s exploded for three in the second inning. Charest first allowed a two-out RBI double, and then saw Stefan Kancylarz drill a two run homer. Joseph Runco scored for Fordham in the fifth inning, but the Hawks made it 5-1 in the bottom half. Fordham trailed by the same score in the seventh inning, when St. Joe’s sealed the deal. After two hitters reached base, Brian O’Keefe launched a three-run homer. Even J.C. Porter allowed three more hits in the six-run inning. Fordham trailed 11-1 when the damage ended, and lost by the same score.

Fordham went ahead the following day, but St. Joe’s rallied for six consecutive runs in another Hawks win. The Rams started quickly when Galiano drove in two with his single into left field. Chris Pike held the Hawks in check until the third inning, but St. Joe’s responded with three third inning runs. The last two came on a two out Chris Hueth single. Fordham allowed three more runs in the fourth inning, with O’Keefe’s two-run double making the score 6-2. The Rams succumbed to St. Joe’s pitching in the last five innings, and failed to record a hit after the sixth inning. St. Joe’s triumphed 6-2, while Fordham lost its seventh straight game.

In the series finale, the Rams gained some consolation with a 4-3 victory. The Rams again went in front against St. Joe’s, as they seized a 3-0 fourth inning lead with DeVito’s two out bases clearing triple. This was Fordham’s biggest hit with runners in scoring position in over two weeks, and gave the offense three runs in a game for the first time in eight games. Nonetheless, the Hawks mounted a comeback in the sixth and seventh innings off of reliever Brett Kennedy. Starter Joseph Serrapica left after delivering a leadoff walk in the sixth, and Kennedy subsequently allowed a two-run homer to Brian O’Keefe. Kennedy faltered again in the seventh when he allowed the tying run to score on a walk and two hits. Tim Swatek then bailed Fordham out by securing two outs with the go-ahead runners in scoring position. Swatek’s clutch pitching signaled a change in Fordham’s fortunes, and the Rams clawed ahead in the eighth on doubles from Mauri and Ryan McNally. Swatek earned a save with two scoreless innings to finish off St. Joe’s, and the Rams salvaged the weekend with a 4-3 victory.

“You can’t get too high when you are hot, and you can’t get too low when you are cold,” Leighton said.  “The tough thing for us has been that it seems as every guy has gone cold at once!  I know that our guys are not happy with our start in conference, but I also know that they will do what it takes to get us back into the hunt.”

Fordham will continue its travels with a weekend set at Georgia State. The Rams’ next home game is set for April 9th against Rutgers, and they resume A-10 play by hosting Rhode Island on April 12-14.