Fordham Baseball Blanks LIU in Home Opener, 3-0

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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS

The Rams braved the cold in their return to the Bronx, winning their home opener against LIU.

By GEORGE MCKNIGHT, Contributing Writer

After a rocky first weekend of play at Florida International University in Miami, Fordham (1-3) bounced back in a major way at Houlihan Park this Wednesday. The Rams won their home opener against Long Island University (LIU), 3-0. 

The game was marked by solid pitching and timely hits. After surrendering a combined 46 runs in 3 straight losses to the FIU Panthers, the Fordham pitching staff rebounded, shutting down the LIU offense through the combined effort of eight pitchers. 

Ben Kovel, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, shone in his collegiate debut, tossing two scoreless innings to open the game. Brandon Martin, FCRH ’20, was credited with the win after his scoreless third inning. Alex Henderson, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’23; Alex Hernandez, GSBRH ’20; Marc Bisogno, FCRH ’20; and Gabe Karslo, GSBRH ’22, each put up scoreless frames thereafter. 

The LIU Sharks threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with no outs after two walks from Karslo. He was able to induce a strikeout and a crucial double play to escape any damage. 

Jake Popolizio, FCRH ’23, ran into some trouble in the top half of the eighth, once again loading the bases after two walks. Coach Kevin Leighton opted to pull Popolizio with two outs in favor of lefty Garrett Crowley, GSBRH ’22, who got a clutch strikeout to end the threat. 

Crowley would strike out three more LIU batters in the ninth for his first collegiate save, sealing Fordham’s first victory of the 2020 season. In all, the stingy Fordham staff gave up only four hits, striking out eight and stranding nine. 

The Rams offense was led by shortstop Jake MacKenzie, GSBRH ’21, who drove in two runs on two hits. Fordham struck for the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth, after the speedy outfielder Jake Baker, FCRH ’20, reached on an infield single and stole second. MacKenzie then drove in Baker with a line-drive double to right-center. MacKenzie would steal third and score on a groundout by third baseman Matt Tarabek, GSBRH ’20, in the same inning. 

The Rams would then add some insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Jason Coules, FCRH ’22, led off with a bunt single and stole second. Two outs later, MacKenzie struck again with a base hit up the middle, putting Fordham up 3-0. 

In total, Fordham tallied three runs on five hits, with two coming from MacKenzie. Baker and Coules each had a hit, a stolen base, and a run scored. Infielder Justin Machado, GSBRH ’20, had the remaining hit for the Rams. 

This game was a significant step in the right direction for the Rams, as they now travel to Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix, Arizona. There they will take on Cal State Northridge and GCU over a pair of two-game sets. 

Fordham returns to action on Friday against Northridge at 4:00 p.m., ready to build on their momentum from their first home victory.