Rowan Baseball drops both games of doubleheader against William Paterson to open up 2023 conference play

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Dylan Maria celebrates a hit. Maria recorded a team-high six hits in Rowan's doubleheader against William Paterson. Saturday, April 2, 2023. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen.

Rowan baseball opened up the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) portion of their 2023 season on Sunday, April 2, with a doubleheader against the William Paterson Pioneers. The Profs weren’t able to get out to the start they hoped for within conference play, however, as they got swept by the Pioneers by scores of 6-5 and 16-8.

For a large majority of game one, it was a back-and-forth battle, as the two teams entered the top of the seventh inning tied at four apiece. Rowan had plenty of chances to score more and take control of the game, but their lack of timely hitting was a trend that plagued them all day long.

“We just didn’t do a good enough job,” Head Coach Mike Dickson said. “We hit a couple balls hard, we lined into double plays and had some tough breaks. We weren’t good enough on the offensive end at all today.”

One particularly egregious instance was in the fifth inning, when Rowan had a chance to blow the game open with it tied at two. The first three hitters of the inning reached base to load them, but a fielder’s choice to nab the runner at home followed by a double play killed any momentum that the Profs had built, and the game remained tied.

William Paterson eventually broke the 4-4 tie, with two wild pitches in the eighth allowing two runs to cross the plate, which proved to be the difference.

Rowan had a rally going in the bottom of the ninth after Phil Sedalis drove in Anthony Schooley to cut the deficit to one, but their hitting with runners in scoring position continued to hurt them. With the tying run on second and two outs, Pioneers first baseman Carson Weis made a great leaping play to snag a line drive and end the game.

“It’s baseball, anything can happen,” utility player Dylan Maria said. “Ball didn’t fall our way, we had some good barrels and some not-so-good barrels. Ball just didn’t fall our way.”

While Zach Grace dominated the first game with 11 strikeouts across seven innings, Rowan’s pitching faltered in the second game. The staff combined to give up 15 hits and nine walks to the Pioneers, en route to their 16 runs.

“Early on, we were throwing well,” Dickson said. “But game two we got behind in some counts and had to throw some fastballs that caught the middle part of the plate, and obviously they took advantage of it.”

After giving up a four-spot in the second inning, Rowan battled back to cut William Paterson’s lead to one. But the pitching staff failed to get a shutdown inning, as the Pioneers got those three runs right back in the top of the third.

The Profs continued to chip away at William Paterson’s lead, making it a 7-5 game entering the sixth, but this was as close as they would get for the remainder of the game.

The Pioneers’ offense exploded for eight runs in the top half of the sixth, which lasted nearly 30 minutes. 14 men went to the plate for William Paterson, as Rowan gave up six hits, four walks and hit a batter in the inning, finding themselves trailing 15-5 as a result.

“We fell behind in some counts, a couple freebies right from the get-go and we got behind in some counts,” Dickson said. “Again, tip your hat to them, they did a good job with runners in scoring position there.”

While it was a doubleheader to forget for the team, utility player Dylan Maria had a good day. The dual-threat led the team with six hits across the two games and threw one scoreless inning, while striking out two in relief of Ryan Iovine during game two.

“I enjoy both, but I enjoy hitting a little bit more,” Maria said. “Just like the action in the field and producing for the team as much as I can.”

Now after a three-game losing streak and a rough start in the conference, the team is looking forward to a chance to avenge Sunday’s pair of losses.

“Just wipe this day off, onto the next,” Maria said. “Just prepare for our next game the best way we can.”

The Profs will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday, Apr. 4, when they take on the Gwynedd Mercy Griffins. Shortly following, they will look to pick up their first conference win of the season on Thursday, Apr. 6, when NJCU comes to town.

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