After going 6-3 in their week-long trip to Florida for the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, the Rowan baseball team played on their home field for the first time this season on Tuesday, March 21, in a game against the Haverford Fords.
“It was great,” junior Dylan Maria said. “Florida was a great trip, great weather, but it’s always good to be back at home playing the home opener in front of everyone.”
Just like the weather down in Florida, the Profs’ offense was hot on Tuesday, plating 21 runs en route to their 21-5 victory. The scoring got started early, as both Maria and senior Chris Curcio recorded RBI singles in the bottom of the first inning to give the Profs an early 2-0 lead. Haverford, however, would threaten just an inning later.
After the Fords put runners on second and third with just one out in the top of the second, southpaw pitcher Zach Grace was able to get out of the jam and allow no runs. First, the junior transfer from the University of Wake Forest forced a weak ground ball to third base, which got the runner on third to head home and get gunned out by Anthony Schooley for the second out. Just a few moments later, Grace fired a nasty pickoff move over to first base to catch the runner sleeping and end the inning.
From there, it was all Rowan, as the team sent all nine batters to the plate and put up a five-spot in their half of the second inning to swing the momentum heavily in their favor.
“It’s just a killer for the other team,” sophomore Jason Morgan said. “They had a big inning, and then we shut them down and came right back out and stepped on their throats, and that was it from there. I thought it was a huge momentum switch for us.”
Grace settled in from there and gave the team five strong innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits and five walks. Grace also struck out five.
Although the offense exploded, the Profs’ defense and pitching was an issue that haunted them all day long. The team committed three errors in the field, and the pitching staff gave up 12 walks, hit two batters and threw three wild pitches.
“I think we need to be better on the mound, we obviously didn’t throw enough strikes,” Head Coach Mike Dickson said. “In a 10-1 game at one point, there’s no reason why we should be hitting or walking guys. It allowed them to get back in the game a little bit and make it 10-5, so obviously that needs to be better.”
As Coach Dickson alluded to, Haverford was able to score two runs off a single in the seventh inning and cut the Profs’ lead to five. That was largely a result of Rowan committing an error, walking two batters and then hitting one more.
“We gotta continue to practice,” Dickson said. “The monotony of practice, taking ground balls,
making sure our technique is right. It was sloppy, sloppy out there today.”
Five runs was the closest that Haverford would come to tying it, as the Profs were able to score four runs in their half of the seventh and seven in the eighth to blow the Fords out of the water. Three of the Profs’ four seventh inning runs came off Morgan’s bat, as he hit an opposite field home run. It was nearly all for naught, however, as a deke by Haverford’s right fielder nearly wiped away the play.
“The umpire thought he had it, and then I was running around the bases and saw that it fell out of his glove, so I was like ‘alright I must be good,'” Morgan said. “So I was telling the umpire, they talked it over and everything was good. I had to go back to first, that’s never happened to me either, but I’ll take it.”
After scoring over 20 runs for the second time this season, the Profs’ offensive approach is working like a charm.
“Just trying to be patient, stay up the middle, line drives and stay to the right side,” Morgan said. “When we’re pulling off, it’s not good baseball for us and we’re staying on the ball, staying through everything that’s when we do the best. That was our approach today, we got our pitches when we had them and we took the right pitches, and everything was going our way today.”
The plate discipline was obvious for the Profs in this one, as Rowan drew 14 walks to accompany their 20 hits and keep the lineup moving.
“It’s a great time in the dugout when we know that we can get our third at-bat in by the fourth inning, when usually most games, it’s in the back half of the game,” Maria said. “When we’re locked in, I feel like it’s a great time in the dugout.”
The Profs will look to stay hot offensively as they head to Aston, PA on Wednesday, March 22, to take on Neumann University.
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