Baseball Sweeps in First Weekend in the Bronx


Fordham Baseball has won five in a row, including four wins last weekend. (Julia Comerford)

By Jack McLoone

Fordham Baseball’s first home stand may not have brought warm weather, but it did bring warm feelings, with the Rams sweeping the Fordham Round Robin. After the four wins and a win on Tuesday against Sacred Heart, the Rams are now 10-6, having won six in a row.

Fordham’s two foes in the Fordham Round Robin were Iona and Hofstra, each of whom the Rams played twice.

In the first game against Iona on Friday morning, the Rams took the lead early, going up 2-0 on an RBI triple from sophomore shortstop Jake MacKenzie and then an RBI groundout by senior catcher Justin Bardwell to score him. They never let up, adding two big innings late to win 9-2.

Junior Alvin Melendez once again made a short start for the Rams, going two innings. He struck out the side in the second but also gave up a run on a pair of singles and a balk.

The Rams singled their way to three more runs in the fifth—all five of their hits in the inning were singles. They added four more in the seventh, first, a bases-loaded double for MacKenzie, followed by a two-run groundout by junior third baseman Matt Tarabek.

If Melendez were an “opener,” sophomore Matt Mikulski would be the “follower,” giving up one run over six innings of work, striking out four and walking one.

MacKenzie had a huge game, going 4-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. While he’s leading the team in strikeouts—as of writing he has 16—he’s also leading the team with 19 hits (a .317 batting average) and still has an on-base percentage of .349.

Saturday featured a doubleheader split between a second game with Iona and a matchup with Hofstra, with the Rams winning the first 5-1 and the second 4-3.

Fordham starter sophomore John Stankiewicz had his second straight seven-inning, one-run game in the start against Iona. He struck out seven while walking just one.

He was pitching in a scoreless game until the bottom of the fourth, when freshman outfielder Nick Guercio drove in Tarabek and Bardwell with a single. Guercio came around to score on another single from Melendez.

The three runs were enough, but sophomore C.J. Vazquez tacked on two insurance runs with his first home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth.

The first game lasted just two hours and five minutes, giving the team enough time to rest before playing Hofstra at 3 p.m.

Like his fellow sophomore Stankiewicz, starter Joseph Quintal had a steady hand through seven innings, striking out nine and walking none while allowing just two runs. Unlike Stankiewicz, he didn’t have the run support early. Hofstra scored one run in the second and another in the fifth—a home run—before the Rams finally got on the scoreboard, thanks to a throwing error. He didn’t get any credit for the end result, because pitching wins are bad, but that’s another conversation.

The Rams took the lead in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a very shaky performance for Hofstra reliever Mark Faello. After striking out Coules to start the seventh, he hit two batters (both times with two strikes), threw three wild pitches and balked once while also allowing a stolen base. All of those gaffs resulted in two runs for the Rams without recording a hit, as they scored on a sacrifice fly from Melendez and one of the wild pitches.

Freshman Gabe Karslo struggled in the top of the eighth, recording just one out while giving up a run that allowed Hofstra to tie the game at three. But junior high-leverage reliever Kyle Martin was ready to put out the fire and stop the bleeding there. In the bottom half, junior speedster Jake Baker pinch ran for Bardwell after the catcher hit a leadoff single and used his speed to score the eventual winning run from first on a double from Tarabek.

The final game of the four-game opening home weekend finished with the same 4-3 score in favor of the Rams.

Freshman Cory Wall was serviceable in his first career start, giving up three runs over five innings on six hits. He struck out four and walked two. All three of them came in the second inning on a three-run home run, which put Fordham in an early 3-1 hole against Hofstra.

The Rams were able to chip away, first with an RBI single from MacKenzie in the third that scored Vazquez, who had stolen second, one of three Ram stolen bases.

In the fifth, the Rams first tied Hofstra then took the lead, the former another RBI from MacKenzie, this time a double, and the latter on a sacrifice fly by Bardwell.

Martin came in for the top of the ninth to slam the door on the weekend sweep, setting down Hofstra in order while striking out two for his fourth save of the season.

The Rams have two midweek games at home; the team started the week by beating Sacred Heart 12-3 on Tuesday. The Rams’ second game is on Wednesday against Wagner before heading to the Towson Round Robin this weekend.