Bison baseball salvages a victory to end tough series against Cornell

Lucas Friedman, Contributing Writer

After its scheduled home opener against Saint Joseph’s was postponed due to inclement weather, the baseball team opened its home season with a four-game set against Cornell from March 25-26.

After a tough start on March 25, the Bison were able to salvage a win in the last game of the series. The Bison won their final game by a score of 1-0 behind a complete game shutout from Mike Castellani ’17.

In the first game of the March 25 double header, the Bison fell 2-5 to Cornell. Connor Van Hoose ’18 took the loss on the mound, going 5.2 innings and striking out five while allowing eight hits and three earned runs. Luke Johnson ’18 and JohnPaul Bell ’20 were responsible for the Bison’s only two runs. Rafferty went 6-15 for the weekend with a pair of RBIs.

The Bison continued to struggle in the second game, losing 4-11. The Bison erased a 3-0 deficit in the fourth inning courtesy of a bases-loaded single from Tyler Wincig ’20. However, Cornell scored six runs in the top of the fifth which proved to be enough to secure the sweep of the day’s double-header. Pitcher Jack Grabek ’19 picked up the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits in 4.1 innings of work.

In the third game, the first of the March 26 double header, the Orange and Blue suffered a 3-7 loss. After Cornell took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, the Bison struck back in the bottom of the fourth with three runs. The offensive burst came on the back of a sacrifice fly from Sam Clark ’17 and an outfield single by Johnson. However, Cornell rallied and tallied five runs in the fifth inning to hand the Bison the defeat.

In the fourth and final game, Castellani, who only surrendered three hits, out-dueled the reigning Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. It was his first career complete game shutout, and he was awarded Patriot League Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance. The only run for the Orange and Blue came off the bat of designated hitter Keifer Rawlings ’18, who connected for a solo home run in the seventh inning. It was Rawlings’ second home run of the season. Though the Bison offense could offer no more run support, Castellani held off the Cornell offense to preserve the victory, allowing the teams to split Sunday’s doubleheader. He is now 1-1 on the year.

“Castellani put the team on his back and showed the heart of a champion,” Rafferty said.

The Bison improved to 9-12 overall with the win, and they hope to carry that momentum and confidence into Patriot League play. Conference matchups for the Orange and Blue begin April 1-2 with a four-game set at Lehigh.

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