This past weekend, Fordham Baseball took on St. John’s in a four-game series that was split between Houlihan Park in the Bronx and Jack Kaiser Stadium in Queens. In the midst of an out-of-conference schedule which has featured its fair share of exciting finishes, Fordham added to that tally this weekend.
In game one on Friday afternoon, Fordham got on the board first thanks to an RBI groundout from senior first baseman Casey Brown in the fourth inning. However, the Red Storm evened the game in the fifth, when catcher Mitchell Henshaw hit senior pitcher Matt Mikulski for a solo home run. That was Mikulski’s only major mistake of the game — he struck out 13 batters in seven innings and only allowed one run.
In the eighth inning, St. John’s blew the game open. Red Storm designated hitter David Glancy earned what turned out to be the game-winning hit off Fordham freshman Declan Lavelle. Then, a brilliant double-steal involving Glancy and left fielder Ryan Hogan brought Hogan home to score from third. Center fielder Brandon Miller drove in another run later in the inning, and St. John’s went on to win the game 4-1.
After taking the first game of the series, the Red Storm made the quick trip over to the Bronx for a doubleheader on Saturday. For the second Saturday in a row, the Rams found themselves in a marathon.
Fordham freshman Trey Maeker whacked his first-career home run in the third inning to put Fordham up 1-0. However, the Red Storm took their first lead in the fourth, as a two-run single from center fielder Brandon Miller and a run-scoring groundout from right fielder Vinny Bianchi made it 3-1. But Fordham answered right back: Maeker drove in another run with an RBI single in the fourth, and senior outfielder Colton Snelling tied the game at three with his own RBI groundout.
The teams continued to trade blows in the sixth. St. John’s second baseman Carson Bartels drove in two runs with an RBI single in the top half of the inning. But Fordham senior infielder C.J. Vazquez did him one better in the bottom half of the inning, driving in three runs with a bases-loaded double to give the Rams a 6-5 lead. However, Fordham junior pitcher Gabe Karslo plunked Red Storm left fielder Justin Folz with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, bringing home the tying run.
Both teams had run-scoring opportunities in the ensuing innings. St. John’s had runners on the corners in the ninth, but Fordham senior Joe Quintal induced a double play to get out of trouble. Fordham got runners to first and second in the ninth, but were unable to cash in. The Rams got a runner to third in the 10th, but senior Alvin Melendez — in his return from injury — couldn’t drive in junior Jack Harnisch from third.
After playing a 16-inning game the previous Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson, the Rams broke through in the 13th. Junior catcher Richard Grund singled to lead off the inning, and freshman Chris Genaro walked in his first-career Fordham plate appearance. Junior outfielder Jake Guercio’s sacrifice bunt got both runners into scoring position, and Vazquez hit a ground ball up the middle that drove Grund home with the winning run to give Fordham the victory.
For as productive as the offense was in that game, the real MVP in the Fordham victory may have been Quintal. Besides getting into a jam in the ninth, the senior was dominant, pitching six scoreless innings and earning the well-deserved win.
In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, which was played in just seven innings, Fordham’s offense once again got off to a hot start. The Rams tagged St. John’s opener Sonny Fauci — whose middle name is Anthony but who is not related to the doctor — for two first-inning runs. However, with the game tied in the sixth, Hogan’s RBI single put St. John’s up 4-3, and that would be the final score. Freshman pitcher Cameron Knox earned the loss after giving up the hit in the sixth.
The final game took place on Sunday at Jack Kaiser Stadium, with St. John’s looking to take the series. In the second inning, Harnisch drove in two runs with a single in the second, but the Red Storm got a run back in the third. The game stayed 2-1 into the seventh inning behind a strong starting effort from freshman Brooks Ey. However, St. John’s got to a sputtering Ey in the seventh, scoring three runs in the inning and taking a 4-2 lead to the eighth. But Fordham’s offense responded, as Maeker and catcher Andy Semo each drove in a run to tie the game at 4 each. Harnisch put the Rams ahead later in the inning with an RBI single.
The Rams added insurance in the ninth inning, with senior infielder Nick Labella driving in junior outfielder Jason Coules to make it a 6-4 game. Labella’s hit proved to be important, as St. John’s mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth. With two runners on and one out, Bartels tagged Fordham pitcher Alex Hernandez with a two-run double to tie the game. For the second time in as many games, these two teams were headed to extra innings.
In the 10th inning, Fordham’s offense broke through yet again. Harnisch’s squeeze bunt brought home freshman outfielder Ryan Theisse to put Fordham on top 7-6. Fordham freshman Declan Lavelle, who had completed the ninth inning, pitched a scoreless tenth inning and got Fordham the victory and a split of the weekend’s games.
With this weekend’s results, Fordham is now 9-3 on the year. The Rams visit Sacred Heart on Wednesday for a midweek game before this weekend’s series against Hofstra. Fordham has some time before its Atlantic 10 title defense begins; the Rams’ first A-10 game doesn’t take place until April 9 at St. Bonaventure.