The Fordham Ram

Baseball Sweeps Road Series Against St. Joseph’s

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Baseball Sweeps Road Series Against St. Joseph’s

Justin Bardwell earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for his 10-for-14 performance from the plate this weekend (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Justin Bardwell earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for his 10-for-14 performance from the plate this weekend (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Justin Bardwell earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for his 10-for-14 performance from the plate this weekend (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Justin Bardwell earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for his 10-for-14 performance from the plate this weekend (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).


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By Jack McLoone

Justin Bardwell earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors for his 10-for-14 performance from the plate this weekend (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Well, that’s certainly one way to bounce back from your first Atlantic 10 series loss of the season. After dropping two of three to George Washington, Fordham Baseball outscored St. Joseph’s 23-9 on the road over the three-game series sweep. Including a Tuesday win over Yale, the Rams are now 27-14-1 and 10-5 in A-10 play.

“This was a big weekend for us and it was great to see us fight back on Saturday to get that win,” said head coach Kevin Leighton. “Taking three last weekend puts us in a good spot but again, we can’t be satisfied and we need to keep working hard to improve.”

I think it’s time to stop asking Leighton about the impact of wins.

The Rams cruised through Game one on Friday to an 11-1 victory. Junior catcher Justin Bardwell’s RBI double and junior first baseman Brian Goulard’s RBI single in the first staked the Rams out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. They never relinquished it.

Sophomore Matt Tarabek and Goulard hit a solo and two-run home run, respectively, in the rout. Freshman Alvin Melendez went 1-4 with a double and a stolen base, showing all signs that he is over the hamstring injury that limited him over the last couple of weeks. Bardwell finished the day 3-5 at the plate with two RBIs.

On the mound, junior Reiss Knehr had one of his best starts of the season, going seven strong innings and giving up the sole run. He struck out six and walked three. Freshman John Stankiewicz pitched a clean eighth, and then Melendez closed the game, fully proving he is back from the injury.

The Saturday game that Leighton mentioned was not nearly as smooth. It started much the same way, with Goulard staking the Rams out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

But then the usually-solid senior starter Ben Greenberg struggled. In the second inning, the Hawks were able to link a few hits up and score three off him to make it 3-1. A solo homer in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth ended Greenberg’s day with six earned runs over 5.2 innings. He struck out just three but didn’t walk any.

“I thought they did a nice job against him. Ben made a couple mistakes over the middle and they didn’t miss them,” said Leighton of the Hawks’ batters. “Sometimes those are outs and sometimes they are doubles. He will bounce back and be ready to go this weekend.”

However, as Leighton mentioned, the Rams did not give in, even down 6-1 after six innings. Freshman third baseman CJ Vazquez started chipping away in the seventh with an RBI single, but it was the eighth where the Rams broke through.

Bardwell came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out and promptly cleared them with a double, bringing the Rams within one, 6-5. They were not done there. A sacrifice fly by Knehr drove in Bardwell, who had moved to third on a wild pitch, tying the game at six. And then the Rams took a 7-6 lead when sophomore outfielder Billy Godrick drew a bases-loaded walk.

Up 7-6, the Rams brought in sophomore Kyle Martin in the eighth, who struck out the side. But things did not go as well in the top of the ninth, as the Hawks led the inning off with a homer to tie the game at seven.

The Rams prevailed in extras, however, when MacKenzie hit a two-out solo home run in the top of the 11th to give them an 8-7 lead. Junior Mike Cowell came on in relief and got his first save by striking out the side, giving Fordham the win in 11.

During the game, Melendez stole his 20th base of the season, joining Godrick and MacKenzie at the milestone, marking the fourth time – and first time since 2008 – that the Rams had three players with 20 or more steals. The Rams still lead all of college baseball in steals with 134. The next closest, Wofford, is at 119.

On Sunday, the Rams continued their usual routine of “ride a solid start from junior Anthony DiMeglio to a relaxed victory.” DiMeglio was tagged with a run first in the second inning, but was mostly blemish-free beyond then, striking out six over his seven innings. After adding tying the game in the fourth on a Tarabek double, Godrick singled in a run in the fifth to give the Rams a 2-1 lead. An RBI single from sophomore Jake Baker in the seventh and an RBI double from Bardwell in the eighth brought the game to its final score of 4-1.

The Rams out-hit the Hawks 40-26 over the weekend.

“It was a solid weekend for our hitters,” said Leighton. “I just thought we had really good at-bats and were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes.”

The chief provider of hits was Bardwell, who went 10-14 with six doubles and six RBIs. His efforts earned him Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors.

“Bardwell had a great weekend and not only had a lot of hits but had some really clutch hits,” said Leighton.

The Rams will hope to carry these strong performances into their next A-10 series at home against Dayton on Friday, May 4 at 6 p.m.

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Baseball Sweeps Road Series Against St. Joseph’s