Rams Sweep St. Joe’s Behind Strong Pitching, Leighton Wins 200th


Behind a stellar pitching staff, Fordham baseball are now winners of four straight games to vault them to fourth place in the Atlantic-10 Conference. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

By Jack Mcloone

The Fordham Baseball pitching staff is on one heck of a roll right now. Senior pitcher Anthony DiMeglio threw eight innings of shutout ball on Sunday to earn Co-Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week honors, the fifth week in a row that a Ram pitcher has had at least a share of the weekly award.

The Rams’ pitching dominance was key in their string of wins this weekend. The series started with a doubleheader on Saturday to avoid the colder temperatures and rain that came Friday and to take advantage of Saturday’s Bro’s Hill-worthy weather.

Fordham won the first half of the day’s games on the back of sophomore pitcher Matt Mikulski, who, like his senior counterpart, threw eight shutout innings. He was a little more chaotic than DiMeglio, however, walking four, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch. He also struck out seven.
The other major difference between the two performances was that Mikulski needed to work out of a couple tight jams.

With two outs in the third, Mikulski allowed an infield single and then threw a wild pitch that moved the runner to second. However, he got out scot-free by striking out the next batter. Even better, the Ram offense rewarded him with a run on an RBI double from sophomore Jake MacKenzie.

In the fourth, Mikulski walked up to the edge of the cliff before pulling himself back. A hit batter and a double put runners on second and third with no outs. He struck out the next batter and then induced a groundball that junior third baseman Matt Tarabek was able to throw home to cut down the runner and prevent him from scoring. After a two-out walk, a line drive to sophomore second baseman C.J. Vazquez ended the threat.

Once again, the Rams rewarded him with a run, an RBI single from Tarabek, to bring the score to 2-0, where it remained for the rest of the game without much further fanfare.

The back half of the doubleheader was much more eventful, not in the least because it resulted in head coach Kevin Leighton’s 200th win at Fordham and 400th career win.

Sophomore John Stankiewicz got the start and was roughed up to the tune of two runs in the second thanks to an error and three singles (only one was earned). He muscled through another four innings, striking out seven over six frames. He also walked one batter and hit another, but otherwise had a solid overall performance.

After the Rams scratched one back in the fifth on an RBI single from sophomore first baseman Nick Labella, things got weird in the sixth. With runners on first and second with one out, MacKenzie laid down a bunt. By the end of the play, he was standing on third with a little league triple thanks to a horrendous throw by the pitcher, which also allowed two runs to score. A later error also allowed another run to score to give the Rams a 4-3 lead.

Freshman Gabe Karslo gave up one run in the seventh, but junior Kyle Martin was able to come in and get his second save of the day by shutting the door in the ninth on a 4-3 win.

And now back to DiMeglio’s dominance. Did I also mention he had 10 strikeouts to just one walk in eight innings of shutout ball? Because he did. Over his eight innings, he faced just three batters over the minimum.

He pitched with a lead from the second inning on, thanks to a solo home run by Labella. The Rams plated two more in the fifth then reached the final score of 6-0 on a three-run home run by Vazquez.

With the sweep, the Rams are now 6-3 in A-10 play and 20-12 overall, which puts them at fourth in the conference. After a couple of midweek games, the Rams will take on the top team in the A-10 at the moment, VCU, on the road. That series will start Friday, April 12 at 6:30.