Baseball Opens A-10 Play


After a sub-par 7-15 start to the season, the Rams baseball team are looking to rebound as they begin play against their rivals in the Atlantic 10 (A-10) Conference.

Despite their record, the Rams are confident and eager to begin conference play. They have proven themselves to be competitive in the A-10 with a record of 56-48 since 2008. Although their conference record has consistently been around or above .500, the team wants to build and improve on their A-10 success.

In his first season as head coach, Kevin Leighton has had to work with a relatively young squad that has put up strong pitching performances, but has lacked timely hitting and solid defense at times. In order to play like a championship caliber team, the team must excel at multiple elements.

“Leighton’s brought a lot to the team,” Chris Pike, Gabelli School of Business ’14, said. “He’s very knowledgeable and he’s taught us to excel in the small things—executing on offense, getting ahead in the count and making plays defensively.”

The Rams opened conference play last weekend against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (3-6) hoping to find their groove, but the three-game series was a tale of two different teams. In the first game the Rams looked as though they would start the A-10 competition with a win, but the pitching unraveled late. Starter Daniel Munday, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’12, cruised on through seven 1/3 innings to the tune of a 4-1 Fordham lead, but after two singles, a hit by pitch and a walk that forced in a run, his day was over. Rich Anastasi, FCRH ’13, relived him and struck out the next batter before allowing a game-tying two-run single. The bullpen’s struggles continued into the ninth inning, as the Minutemen managed to add one more run to take the lead and eventually win.

The next day the Rams were motivated to make up for their mistakes, and, although it didn’t look like it at first, they did just that. The game opened with UMass and Fordham trading runs in the first inning and the Minutemen scored again in the second. The Rams countered to take the lead with a three-run third, capitalizing on two UMass errors. From then on, UMass starting pitcher Glen Misho, FCRH ’14 and Chris Pike, FCRH ’14, traded zeroes until the seventh inning when UMass tied the game at four—very similar to the previous game. Determined not to lose twice the same way, Fordham limited the damage and went into extra innings. After a scoreless top of the tenth, Matthew Cianci, FCRH ’15, hit a one-out single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. This opened the door for a walk-off single by third basemen Ryan Maghini, FCRH ’12.

In Saturday’s game, Fordham had quality starting pitching, minimal but timely hitting and despite making four errors, managed to play stable, heads up defense by picking off two Massachusetts base runners. “I thought we played really well as a team,” Pike said. “Our offense was tenacious, we had great starting and relief pitching, and we were strong on defense.”

If the Rams have contests where they play like last Saturday, Fordham could see the baseball team make quite a comeback during the second half of the season. After just missing out on an A-10 playoff spot last year, this team can smell the postseason. This year, the A-10 Championship will take place at Fordham’s Houlihan Park, so it is important that the team performs well to get there. If they make it, they could have a potentially dangerous home field advantage. “Our biggest strength is our versatility,” Pike said.  “We have a lot of guys that can fill holes in the lineup and on the field. You can call on anyone and they’re ready to go.”