Last weekend, Fordham Baseball opened its season with a trio of non-conference games in Greenville, South Carolina. After playing three tough opponents, Fordham came out of the weekend with one victory and two defeats.
Junior Greg Weissert got the start against Furman University in the first game Friday. Weissert gave up only one hit through the first five innings, but four walks kept his pitch count high. Following a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt by Sky Overton in the sixth inning, Weissert allowed his sixth, and final, free pass of the game. With two Paladins on base and only one out, sophomore Ben Greenberg came on in relief.
Greenberg threw two wild pitches to the first batter he faced, which allowed the first run of the game to score. Jordan Simpson followed with a run-scoring single to give the Paladins a two run edge over the Rams. From there on out, Greenberg shut down Furman.
Furman’s starter Will Gaddis allowed one hit and struck out eight Rams in his six innings of work. Two relievers combined to silence Fordham in the seventh. Still down 2-0 in the eighth inning, Fordham received some much needed help, reaching base on a pair of errors. Ian Edmiston led off the inning by reaching on a Simpson defensive miscue at the hot corner. A hit by pitch and a walk set up the bases loaded for graduate student Ryan McNally who cleared the path with a three-run double.
Now up one, McNally stole third base and scored on a throwing error by Furman’s catcher. Sophomore Joseph Runco singled and junior Matthew Kozuch tripled to give Fordham five unearned runs for the inning. Greenberg then shut out the Paladins in the eighth and ninth to pick up the win in a game that included eight hits, five for the Rams.
Fresh off its first win, Fordham played Presbyterian College on Saturday but failed to keep its unblemished record intact. Sophomore Joseph Serrapica faced some early trouble and allowed the Blue Hose to score two runs in the second inning. After allowing an additional run in the fifth, Serapica was taken out of the game trailing 3-0.
On this day, Fordham was not able to complete another comeback. In the sixth inning, McNally blasted a solo shot to left field for the only home run the Rams hit over the weekend. Following the home run, Ethan Wortkoetter, Michael Trebendis and Hayden Deal combined to be perfect out of Presbyterian’s bullpen. The Rams relief corps was not as fortunate, as sophomore Moshup Galbraith was pinned for three runs in the seventh inning and freshman Anthony Zimmerman allowed a single run in his eighth inning debut. All told, the Rams fell to the Blue Hose 7-1.
Fordham did not fare much better on Sunday against Michigan State, falling to the Spartans 7-2. The game started well for the Rams as junior Mark Donadio drove in a first inning run with a single. However, the lead was short lived because senior Jimmy Murphy allowed a home run to Brandon Hughes hitting in the third spot in the order.
Murphy continued to watch Spartans cross the plate as he gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks in his 4.1 innings on the mound. Junior Kirk Haynes, Jr. pitched the rest of the way for Fordham, conceding one unearned run but allowing no hits. Junior Luke Stampfl had a pinch hit double to drive in a run in the ninth inning, but it was too little, too late for the Rams.
“I liked how we fought back in the first game against Furman and competed in the other games,” said head coach Kevin Leighton. He also wants the hitters “to have better at bats and cut down on the strikeouts.”
Fordham is back at it this weekend, playing four games in three days against Canisius College. When asked about the upcoming games, Leighton said “I’m sure the guys are excited to get back on the field.”