Rowan baseball splits its games in Maryland to open the season

Mike Shannon waits for the sign from the catcher. Shannon got the start in the Profs' first game. - Sunday, April 2, 2023. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

Over the weekend, Head Coach Mike Dickson and Rowan Baseball opened up their 2024 season in Salisbury, Maryland, where they faced off against the Wildcats of Johnson & Wales and Oswego State.

Dickson turned to last year’s ace Mike Shannon to open the season against the Wildcats, but Shannon quickly ran into trouble, as they scored four runs in the first inning, which was highlighted by a three-run home run from catcher Owen Davis.

However, Shannon settled in from there and pitched five shutout innings to help Rowan get back in the game. The Profs’ offense picked him up too, as they scored five runs from the second to the sixth inning.

The stretch was highlighted by a solo home run from senior Tyler Cannon in the second and solo homers from senior Dylan Maria and senior Pat Defeciani in the sixth that gave the Profs a 5-4 lead.

At the top of the seventh, the left-handed senior Jake Reese took over for Shannon but just like the first inning, the Wildcats scored runs in bunches and entered the bottom half of the frame with a 9-5 lead.

A solo home run from junior Karson Harcourt and a two-run home run from Cannon almost capped off the ninth-inning rally but the Profs would fall short by a score of 9-8.

“We had two innings that got away from us and that resulted in that loss but we were able to bounce back the next day for a big win,” Cannon said.

As Cannon said, the Profs bounced back in a big way against the Oswego State Lakers, as an offensive explosion led them to a 22-4 win for their first win of the season.

Cannon’s success at the plate against the Wildcats carried into this game, as he went yard in the first at-bat of the game to open up the scoring. In the same inning, junior Jason Morgan would hit a double to score a run to give the Profs a two-run lead, which they wouldn’t look back from.

Rowan scored a run in every inning except the ninth, with six of the runs coming in the fourth as junior Phil Sedalis, Maria, and Morgan all picked up an RBI in the inning. Sophomore Nick Struble capped off the inning with his three-run home run, which was the first home run of his career.

“It was a good feeling because we were starting to pull away with the momentum and the home run really capped it off,” Struble said. “Being a younger guy getting my first start and being able to contribute in a big way was a lot of fun.”

Junior Zach Coluccio started on the mound and shut out Oswego State in five of the six innings he pitched. The Lakers had a hard time touching the Profs’ pitching all day, as all four of their four runs came in the second inning.

Despite the season just beginning, Dickson has learned a lot from the two games.

“We played 18 innings and we won 16 of those innings, but the two innings that got away from us led to us losing a game,” Dickson said. “It reminds us that we need to limit big run innings and if we do that we’re going to win a lot of games.” 

Next for Rowan is a trip to Florida for the RussMatt Central Invitational, where the Profs will play nine games from March 7 to March 16. Dickson believes this will be the first test for his ball club in the young season.

“Going undefeated is the ultimate goal and to do that it’s gonna take good pitching, great defense, and timely hitting,” Dickson said. “Hopefully when we get back we know where our club is and what we need to do to get ready for our northern swing of the regular season.”

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