Baseball seniors shine on Senior Day with Lafayette sweep

Lucas Friedman, Contributing Writer

The Bison baseball team had four crucial wins against a tough Patriot League foe, Lafayette, on April 15-16. The Orange and Blue improved their overall record to 17-18, while boasting an 8-4 Patriot League record, which moves them into a tie for second place with Holy Cross, who they face off against on April 22-23.

The Bison opened up the series against Lafayette red hot on the offensive end. As a team, they hit .316, with 11 extra base hits on the day. In the first game, the Bison picked up the victory by a score of 4-1. The team was led by starting pitcher Connor Van Hoose ’18, who threw his second complete game of the season on his way to earn his fourth victory of the year. He allowed six hits, struck out nine batters, and allowed no earned runs. After getting on the board early courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Danny Rafferty ’17, the Bison capitalized on their lead in the third inning when Sam Clark ’17 hit a two-run home run, his fourth of the season.

The Bison offense continued its outburst in their 6-5 victory in the second game of April 15. Mike Castellani ’17 picked up the win pitching 6.2 strong innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs. The Orange and Blue jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning, thanks to a two-run single off the bat of Evan Madigan ’20, who later scored on a single from Brett Smith ’17. Lafayette roared back and took the lead in the top of the fifth, but the Bison quickly responded, and took the lead for good in the bottom half of the fifth. Clark led the inning off with a triple, and scored off a double hit by Keifer Rawlings ’18. Rawlings then scored on a groundout from JohnPaul Bell ’20. Jack Simpson ’20 finished the game, pitching the last 2.1 innings on his way to picking up his first career save.

Senior Day coincided with the games on April 16, and the seniors of the team took full advantage of their night of honor. The team honored the seven seniors on the team: Clark, Smith, Rafferty, Castellani, Alex Salem ’17, Tommy Gambon ’17, and Jack Schoenberger ’17. The Bison continued their streak April 16, boasting a team batting average of .375, with 11 extra base hits once again.

The Orange and Blue won their third game against Lafayette in dramatic walk-off fashion by a score of 11-10. After trading blows for the first four innings, Lafayette led the game 6-4. Evan Klugerman ’19 responded with a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth, his first home run as a Bison. Despite another home run from Clark in the bottom of the fifth, the Bison entered the bottom of the seventh down 8-10. Bell reached first base on a walk, and advanced to third on a double from Chuckie Scales ’18. With two outs, Klugerman drove in the game tying runs with a double. Then, Smith stepped up to the plate, and won the game with a walk-off double.

The bats refused to cool down, as the Bison took the final game of the four game series 8-5, which counted for their first weekend sweep since Navy in 2014. The Bison took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring three runs, two coming from Clark’s two-run single. In the sixth inning, Rawlings hit a two out triple and the Orange and Blue never looked back from that lead. Jack Grabek ’19 had a sharp outing, going 5.2 strong innings, surrendering seven hits, fanning five batters, and only allowing three earned runs. Simpson pitched 2.2 more strong innings, while Matt Shobe ’20 finished the game to pick up his first career save.

Securing the comeback win in the first game boosted team morale and gave the players the confidence to close out the weekend with a sweep.

“[Winning a close first game] kept us grounded, but at the same time it gave us momentum knowing we had the talent to come back and win games,” JohnPaul Bell ’20 said.

The Bison will next face Patriot League opponent Holy Cross on April 22-23.

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