While most Fordham students spent their spring break relaxing and recharging for the rest of the semester, the baseball team stayed busy. Over the last week, the Rams played a five-game slate and logged three wins, improving their record to 11-13. Although it has no bearing on their postseason status, the team’s overall record currently ranks sixth in the Atlantic 10.
On Wednesday, March 23, the Rams traveled to Long Island for a showdown with the New York Institute of Technology Bears. The game was hard-fought and featured several lead changes, but NYIT ultimately picked up the 5-4 victory.
The Bears opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, when first baseman Jake Lebel doubled to score catcher Robert Fiato from second. Fordham evened the score in the top of the third when junior centerfielder Jason Lundy scored off a ground out by senior second baseman Joseph Runco. However, NYIT plated another runner in the bottom of the inning, maintaining its one-run advantage.
The fourth inning was scoreless, but Fordham managed to generate some offense in the fifth. With runners on first and second, Runco knocked a single into the outfield and wound up advancing to second base due to a poor throw; both runners scored, putting Fordham ahead by one. However, the Bears rallied in the bottom of the inning, making the score 3-3 through five. Runco knocked in yet another run in the top of the seventh, but a big two-run double from NYIT third baseman Louis Mele put his team ahead by one, and the score went unchanged for the rest of the game. The Bears took the game 5-4.
Two days later, the Rams headed to Newark, New Jersey for a four-game series against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders. The first game featured one of Fordham’s strongest offensive performances of the season, in which they rode to a decisive victory. Graduate student leftfielder Ryan McNally got things going with a two-run homer in the top of the first, and Runco knocked in the third run of the game with a sacrifice fly two innings later.
The Highlanders had a big fourth inning, scoring four runs to take the lead and knock Ben Greenberg, Fordham’s sophomore ace, out of the game. The Rams bounced back, however, and scored four runs of their own in the sixth inning, two of them thanks to McNally’s second round-tripper of the day. Another home run in the seventh from freshman Reiss Knehr put the score at 10-4, where it would remain for the remainder of the game.
The second game of the day got started less than an hour later and featured far less offense. The Highlanders rallied in the bottom of the third, putting them up by two, and another run in the fourth stretched their advantage to three. The Rams plated a pair of runners in the top of the last inning, making it 3-2, but they fell just short in their comeback attempt. NJIT starter Sean Lubreski went the distance, allowing just two runs over seven innings of work.
The second day was a banner one for Fordham. The Rams came out on top in a pair of hotly contested pitchers’ duels, giving them the series win over the Highlanders. In the first game, junior pitcher Kirk Haynes Jr. was on fire, striking out nine batters in as many shutout innings and allowing just three hits. Fordham’s offense was not especially productive, managing just three hits in the game, but they managed to score two runs, earning the narrow victory.
While there was a bit more offense on both sides, the second game of the doubleheader strongly resembled the first. This time, it was senior starter Joseph Serrapica who went the distance for Fordham, striking out five and allowing just one run over seven innings of work. All of the scoring took place in the game’s earliest stages. NJIT designated hitter Stephan Halibej got things going for the Highlanders with an RBI double in the first, but they could not hold on to their lead. In the top of the second, pitcher Justin Chin walked home a run and allowed a bases-loaded single to Runco, putting the Rams up by two. The rest of the game was scoreless, and the Rams walked away with the 3-1 victory.
All in all, the week was a positive one for the Rams. The pitching staff allowed just 12 earned runs in 41 innings, good for an ERA of 2.63. McNally continued his hot hitting, raising his batting average to .309 and his slugging percentage to .580 for the season.
This weekend, the Rams will kick off A-10 play with a three-game home series against Richmond. After that, they will hit the road, traveling to New Jersey for a one-game showdown with Rutgers before heading to Philadelphia for another A-10 series against La Salle.