Baseball Struggles on the Road, Win at Home

While the Rams have struggled on the road, they managed to come up with wins at home recently. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

While the Rams have struggled on the road, they managed to come up with wins at home recently. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The Fordham men’s baseball team underwent a series of road trips over the past two weeks, dropping them both. In the first matchup beginning on Feb. 25, the Rams were swept in two three game series, first against the Virginia Tech Hokies and then in the next against Florida Atlantic.”  However, the Rams recorded strong wins at home against Sacred Heart University and Manhattan College in the Battle of the Bronx

After returning home following a rough opening weekend against Texas A&M University, Fordham bounced back in their home opener against Sacred Heart University. In what was the Rams highest scoring game since they put up 22 runs against Fairleigh Dickinson back in 2019, the Rams bats were hot after a series of hard-fought losses against Texas A&M.

After an unassuming first inning with no runs on the board, the Rams got hot throughout the second and third innings, scoring seven runs in each frame to create a 14-0 lead.

At the plate, the Rams totaled 16 hits, led by senior Jack Harnisch and freshman Sebastian Mexico, who were each 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Graduate student infielder C.J. Vazquez was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs with the senior duo of outfielder Jason Coules and catcher Andy Semo each having scored two runs and two RBIs.

Fordham’s arms showed out with all seven pitchers recording a two-hit shutout. Sophomore Cameron Knox pitched the opening two frames and was credited with the win. Knox allowed two walks with two strikeouts. Freshman Anthony Scarlata pitched two scoreless frames after him, allowing one hit. Freshmen Robbie Stewart and Connor Haywood, sophomores Trey Maeker and Jake Clark and junior Ben Kovel then finished the shutout with one scoreless inning each. The Rams’ pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts in the game, led by Stewart, who struck out the side in the fifth inning.

The Rams ultimately ran the score up to 17-0, taking a huge win from the Pioneers. The next game against Virginia Tech unfortunately fell short.

In a flip of the script, the Rams lost game one against the Hokies 12-0 after a struggling offense failed to put runs on the board. Fordham managed just two hits in the game on singles by Harnisch and senior outfielder Jake Guercio, and struck out 12 times on the day.

 On the pitching side, senior  Gabe Karslo allowed seven runs over 5.2 innings, taking the loss for the day. 

Day two hoped to be a brighter spot for the Rams, and while failing to secure a win, Fordham managed to score some runs. The Hokies repeated their actions in game one, scoring early on into the game to build up a secure lead. Things looked up for the Rams in the fourth inning, when the Hokies lead was sliced in half, courtesy of junior infielder Zach Sellinger hitting a two-run home run into left field, his first of the season, making it a 4-2 game. However, the Rams couldn’t keep their bats hot and allowed four more runs, making the final score 8-2.

There was no slowing down Virginia Tech, as the Rams dropped game three and were swept in another series for the season. Vazquez and Harnisch led off with back-to-back singles, with Vazquez later scoring on a wild pitch. They stayed at one run until the 9th, with a two-run home run courtesy of sophomore infielder Michael Taylor; however, at that point, it was too late. Fordham took the 3-7 loss.  

Looking to rebound, the Rams set their sights on the Battle of the Bronx, as they faced the Manhattan Jaspers. Fordham had struggled in the first few innings recently, and this game was no different. 

The Rams gave up four runs in the second and third innings, but things changed in the fourth. Coules led off with a double to right center, and one out later, scored on a double by freshman outfielder Cian Sahler. After a strikeout and pitching change, Guercio singled up the middle to score Sahler.

Fordham then grabbed a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning. With two outs, junior infielder Will Findlay drew a walk and moved to third on a double by Mexico. Coules then delivered a two-run single through the right side to score by both runners.

The Rams hung tough, tying the game at six in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Vazquez scored sophomore pinch-runner Ryan Thiesse from third.

 The game was decided in the eighth, when Fordham rallied for three runs and a 9-6 advantage. Junior pinch-hitter Zach Selinger led off with a single to center, followed by a single by Sahler and a walk to Semo to load the bases. Guercio was then hit by a pitch to force in the go-ahead run. After a pitching change, Vazquez walked to drive in another run, while the last run came on a ground out by Findlay.

 The three-run cushion was enough for junior reliever Ben Kovel, who earned his first win of the year with three scoreless innings of relief, giving up just one hit. 

Hoping to score their first series win, the Rams traveled to Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for a three game matchup this past weekend. The Rams struck first in game one, as Semo knocked his first solo home of the season to left in the second inning. 

After the Owls scored three runs in the third, the Rams equalized the game at three in the fourth inning. Senior catcher Richard Grund and graduate student infielder Casey Brown started the frame with back-to-back singles. After a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners, Sahler singled home Grund from third with Sahler scoring later in the inning courtesy of Vazquez. 

Once again, the Rams tied the game in the top of the sixth, as Vazquez came through with a two-out RBI single to left, scoring Grund from second to make it a 4-4 game. The game remained tied until FAU rallied for four runs in the seventh inning,

 The Rams would get two runners on with one out in the ninth with singles by Semo and Harnisch, but the Owls got back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.

Saturday’s game saw plenty of offense, as the teams combined for 25 runs and 22 hits. Unfortunately for the Rams, the Owls came out ahead by a 15-10 score, despite a late ninth-inning rally for Fordham.

Sophomore pitcher Brooks Ey took the loss, allowing seven runs over 3.2 innings of work. Freshman infielder T.J. Wachter, Semo and Selinger each drove in two runs at the plate, with Coules going 1-for-2 with three runs scored.

Fordham struggled out of the gate in their last attempt to prevent the sweep, giving up nine runs through six innings. The Rams’ first run came in courtesy of sophomore infielder Nico Boza connecting on a solo home run to right, the first of his career. 

Fordham netted single runs in the seventh and ninth innings for a 10-3 final. Findlay registered an RBI-single in the seventh and a solo home run in the ninth, the first of his career. Findlay was 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI, while Boza and Selinger each had two hits and a run scored.

Fordham hopes to rebound in the Bronx, as nine out of the next ten games will be at home. The first matchup is against Stony Brook University on Wednesday.