Following an extra-inning 8-7 loss to Rutgers University-Camden on Friday, April 21, the Rowan baseball team got back on track with a doubleheader sweep over Rutgers University-Newark on Saturday, April 22, recording victories by final scores of 11-10 and 12-6.
What started as a day to honor the Profs’ six seniors, Chris Curcio, Brian Gallante, Ryan Iovine, Ryan Murphy, Jason O’Neill and Jake Reese, quickly went south as Rowan found themselves trailing the Scarlet Raiders 5-0 in game one entering the bottom of the fourth inning.
Head Coach Mike Dickson knew that the Profs needed a spark to get themselves back into the game, so he turned to freshman outfielder Mason Dorsey to replace Jason Morgan in left field. Dorsey immediately came through for his coach and the team, hitting an RBI single to center field to get Rowan on the board.
“We just needed to change our energy,” Coach Dickson said. “He’s a high energy kid, and he came in and did a great job for us. We just needed some positive energy out on the field.”
Dorsey would later deliver once again, this time hitting an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to highlight a three-run inning for the Profs. The Scarlet Raiders, however, immediately responded with a three spot of their own in the top of the seventh, making it a 9-4 game.
Things were looking bleak for the Profs at the time and you could tell by the mood in the dugout. While
the guys were still cheering for one another, you could sense the deflation coming from the Profs.
“It’s kind of dead when they do get up, but you gotta realize as a team that you have to come together at some point,” Murphy said. “You have to start taking pitches, have to really be a good teammate and do what you need to do to get on base.”
What transpired shortly after sent everyone in the Profs dugout into a frenzy.
“It just kind of all clicked in that last inning when we put up those four or five runs,” Murphy added.
Down 10-6 entering the bottom of the eighth, Rowan strung together a plethora of great at-bats, including three two-out, bases-loaded walks from Dylan Maria, Murphy and Dorsey to knot the game up
at ten. From there, Iovine shut down Rutgers-Newark in the top half of the ninth, and Phil Sedalis took the Profs home with a single up the middle to score Karson Harcourt and walk off the Scarlet Raiders.
After warming up in the bullpen throughout the course of game one, Sean Colbert then made the first start of his Profs career in game two.
“We had to use [Sean] Colbert as a starter, because he had warmed up so much in game one that we couldn’t now sit him down for two hours to have him come back,” Coach Dickson said. “So it was either not being able to use him on the day or start him, so we chose to start him and he hasn’t traditionally been a starter in his career here.”
After striking out the first batter he faced, Colbert surrendered three straight base runners who all came
around to score, putting the Profs in an early 3-0 hole.
It wasn’t long after when the offense gave Rowan the lead, as Murphy’s solo blast to left field gave the Profs a 4-3 advantage in the bottom of the third. The Scarlet Raiders would tie it at four in the following inning, but Jake Reese’s pitching and Rowan’s offense was too much to handle, scoring runs in every remaining inning.
“He [Reese] was able to keep us in the ball game and give us an opportunity to win,” Coach Dickson said. “When we got into some trouble, Bass [Christian Bascunan] came in and closed down the seventh.”
As the sun continued to set, the storm drew closer and wind got heavier, making it nearly impossible for the outfielders to get a read on a fly ball. Maria was a beneficiary of this, as an apparent routine fly ball carried over the head of Scarlet Raptors’ center fielder Gilroy Prial and traveled all the way to the warning track to score two.
With the Profs up 12-6 entering the eighth, the game was put in a lightning delay, which signaled the beginning of the end. The weather never cleared, and Rowan secured the win after just seven innings of play.
With the Profs getting two wins on Senior Day, including a walk-off victory, Murphy hopes that the team can use the momentum created from Saturday to propel them to the top of the NJAC.
“It’s a good representation of who we are coming into the end of the season, because we have playoffs coming up and especially Kean, who’s ahead of us,” Murphy said. “We’d like to catch them and hopefully be league champions. That’s our goal for this year, to be league champions, so we’d like to keep it going after a good senior day.”
Even with the doubleheader sweep, Coach Dickson would like to see some improvement in certain aspects throughout the final week of the season.
“I think we do a lot of different things that need to be worked on, I think anywhere from base running to strike throwing. … We got to do a better job in our neutral counts on the mound… And we got to be able to play defense,” Coach Dickson said. “The game is won and lost defensively. We haven’t done a lot of that this year, we’ve been more of an offensive team. But as you get further along in the season and play better and better teams, if you don’t pitch and play defense, you’re not going to last long.”
The team will have plenty of chances to correct some of these things, as they travel to Immaculata University on Tuesday, April 25, before a home-and-home series against Stockton on Thursday and Friday. The Profs will end the regular season with a doubleheader at Kean University on Saturday, April 29.
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