Baseball Hits Stride with Sweep of Furman


After a difficult 1-6 start to the season, Baseball now finds itself winners of four straight games. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Jimmy Sullivan, Sports Editor

The weather is getting warmer, and spring is in the air. Major League Baseball’s regular season kicks off at the end of the month, and winter is almost officially over.

With all of this being said, college baseball has been off the ground for a couple of weeks, and after a few tough games to start the year, Fordham Baseball’s season is getting closer to full bloom.

The Rams are winners of their last four games, including a three-game weekend sweep over Furman University. Fordham outscored Furman 24-7 over three games in Greenville, South Carolina.

The series started on Friday night, as Fordham sent junior left-hander Matt Mikulski to the hill. Mikulski was excellent all night, allowing just one run in 7.1 innings, which accounted for the second-longest start of his Fordham career and the longest start by a Fordham pitcher this season.

The Rams’ offense was able to get him just enough run support all day, as senior outfielder Alvin Melendez’s single gave Fordham a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, and sophomore outfielder Jason Coules’ sacrifice fly put Fordham up 2-0 in the sixth. Fordham scored three more runs in the top of the eighth on Melendez’s two-run single and a throwing error by Furman pitcher Matt Lazzaro.

Despite Mikulski’s allowance of an unearned run in the bottom of the inning, Fordham cruised to a 5-1 victory to open the series.

The Rams’ strong play and solid pitching continued through the rest of the weekend.Saturday’s game saw junior John Stankiewicz, who won Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year last year, take the mound for Fordham against Furman’s John M. Bertrand. For the second straight game, Fordham got another long, strong start from its starter, as Stankiewicz allowed just two runs over six innings, along with five strikeouts. Melendez continued to rake, driving in two runs with a hit in the fourth inning.

After Furman tied it in the bottom of the fifth, Fordham sophomore catcher Andy Semo put the Rams ahead for good in the sixth with an RBI double. Coules and senior infielder C.J. Vazquez added run-scoring hits in the late innings while freshman designated hitter Zach Selinger hit his first-career home run.

Sophomore pitcher Gabe Karslo came on in the seventh inning in relief of Stankiewicz and allowed just one unearned run to preserve the Fordham victory.

As Fordham looked for the series sweep and a victory on Sunday, the Rams’ bats kept the fireworks going. Senior Nick Labella clubbed a two-run home run for his first home run of the season, giving Fordham a 2-0 lead in the top of the second.

Despite Furman’s answer in the bottom half of the inning, Fordham broke through with five runs in the next four innings with run-scoring hits from Coules, Labella and senior infielder Matt Tarabek.

Sophomore Fordham starter Cory Wall powered through five tough innings and allowed just two runs despite scattering seven hits over that time. Freshmen Garrett Crowley and Ben Kovel — along with Melendez — combined to allow one run over the final four innings to clinch the sweep for Fordham.

Fordham’s bats were incredibly impressive on the weekend, and Coules — who played a key role in Fordham’s 13-inning victory over Sacred Heart on Wednesday — was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week after hitting .562 over the team’s four games. Fordham is now 5-6 on the season, with six straight home games coming up. Spring has sprung, and so have the Rams.