Baseball Back To Winning Ways After Strong Homestand

As Atlantic 10 play approaches, the Rams are ready for the challenge. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

As Atlantic 10 play approaches, the Rams are ready for the challenge. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

As the weather gets warmer, so are the bats in the Fordham baseball team’s dugout as they broke their nine-game losing streak by defeating Siena College and Monmouth University this past week. After struggling to overcome giants like Texas A&M and Virginia Tech, the team finally hit their stride just in time for Atlantic 10 play. 

While fans have been eagerly anticipating a win, head coach Kevin Leighton knew it was just a matter of time before the team was back on track. “We’ve had some games that have not been good for us, and typically in baseball it all starts on the mound,” said Leighton. “We have to keep competing and fighting and I know things will change for the better for us.”

Things certainly did change for the Rams, starting off with their game against the Siena College Saints. Fordham pitching failed to hold back the Saints from taking a 6-1 lead through the first five innings, and the Fordham batters were routinely stranded on base during the second and third inning. 

However, the Rams exploited the lackluster Siena bullpen in the bottom of the fifth, finally driving in much needed runs. As Siena’s Joey Laurer came in to relief pitch in the fifth, junior infielder Zach Selinger drove a single up the middle and later advanced on a wild pitch from Laurer, who would go on record multiple wild pitches throughout the fifth. 

After a walk for junior infielder Will Findlay and senior outfielder Jason Coules was hit by a pitch, the Rams had the bases loaded, with freshman outfielder Cian Sahler on deck to drive in some runs. He too was promptly walked by Laurer, causing a pitching change and Sellinger to walk home. As Siena tried to hold on to their lead, the relief staff crumbled underneath the pressure, and Fordham racked up a total of eight runs in the bottom of the fifth alone. 

Fordham’s relief pitching held up exceptionally well, allowing no runs through four innings, while the Rams managed to pick up extra insurance in the sixth courtesy of Sahler and freshman catcher Diego Prieto. The freshman was one of the stars of the day as he went 4-for-5, helping the team walk away with an 11-6 victory.

After snapping the nine-game losing streak that began back on March 2, the Rams were not about to lose steam now. Now turning their attention to Monmouth, it was important to keep the team’s momentum high.

Sloppy pitching would once again plague Fordham’s opponents, with the Rams scoring their first run from a throwing error from Monmouth’s Dixon Black to score senior designated hitter Richard Grund. The Hawks tried to recover from their errors, putting up two runs in the top of the third.

The Rams responded with an electric fourth inning, with help from senior catcher Andy Semo, Grund and a two-run home run from Sellinger to bring their runs up to four and take the lead. Immediately following, the Rams’ sophomore starting pitcher Brooks Ey conceded four runs, as Fordham had a throwing error by the catcher and a balk.

Fordham and Monmouth would continue to go back and forth trading for the lead, until Monmouth took the lead in the top of the ninth, with it all coming down to the wire. Senior infielder Jack Harsnich, Semo and freshman outfielder Sebastian Mexico all walked, with Sahler coming up with the bases loaded. Sahler drove the ball out to right field, walking it off for the Rams with a two-run single to win the game, 10-9.

In game two, the Rams started the bottom of the first with Sellinger driving in an RBI single to score senior outfielder Jake Guercio. The Hawks answered right back in the top of the second with a solo home run from Joey Ventresca. Sahler would continue to be a thorn in the side for Monmouth, scoring in the bottom of the second to give Fordham the lead, 2-1. Fordham would go on to score two runs in the bottom of the third, courtesy of an RBI single from Mexico to score Semo, and an RBI single from Sahler to score Mexico. 

All would be quiet from both teams until both the Rams and Hawks traded three runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh. The Rams capitalized off a pitching change, with Sahler recording an RBI double, scoring Sellinger and graduate student first baseman Casey Brown with a two-run home run to drive in Sahler.

The three-run lead held strong for the Rams as they tacked on one more in the seventh, with Sellinger once again driving in an RBI single to score Guercio. With the lead at 8-4, the Hawks only managed to get one more run in the eighth, but it was not enough to stop the now hot Fordham team.  

Wrapping up the series, the Rams headed to West Long Branch for Sunday’s matchup. Fordham struggles away from home, still having yet to win on the road this season.. Both the Rams and Hawks got off to a slow start, going scoreless through three innings, with the Hawks putting up one run in the fourth to get the ball rolling. They continued that momentum with a two-run home run in the fifth to secure a 3-0 lead. 

When the Rams finally got runs on the board in the top of the ninth, it was too late. After the bases were loaded, Mexico went down swinging for the first out, followed by Vasquez. Sahler then walked in the Rams’ first run of the game. Hope sparked as Harnisch scored on a wild pitch to make the score 3-2. However Findlay went down swinging, ending the game with another road loss.

The Rams are eagerly anticipating their first A-10 matchup against St. Louis University for a three-game series starting Friday. In terms of preparation, Leighton is confident the team is ready for the challenge. “I definitely think the first three weekends challenged us, and I think playing a tough non-conference schedule helps us learn about our team. Everyone we play is going to be solid and we need to find ways to win no matter who we are playing.” 

After the Rams face the Billikens at home, they will travel to face Siena again for a one-game series next Tuesday.