Fordham Baseball Ekes Out Split Series With St. Joseph’s

Rams blown out in two contests, but starting pitchers Mikulski and Karlso salvage weekend with solid outings

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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS

Matt Mikulski, FCRH ’21, struck out 15 batters in a dominant performance against SJU, leading the Rams to a 3-1 victory.

By PATRICK MOQUIN and NIKO KONSTANTELLIS

The Fordham baseball team split its series with the St. Joseph’s University (SJU) Hawks last weekend, winning two games and improving to 18-12 on the season. The Rams were outscored 27-10 across all four games at Smithson Field outside Philadelphia, but solid pitching proved to be enough in two low-scoring victories.

Fordham entered the series with a rare losing streak, having lost three straight games against Towson University and the United States Military Academy. In the top of the third against SJU, Zach Selinger, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, hit a two-single to give the Rams a 2-1 lead that could have ended the streak — but the scoring didn’t stop there.

The Hawks retook the lead in the bottom of the inning and never lost it. Starting pitcher Brooks Ey, FCRH ’24, allowed six earned runs in five innings, and much of the relief pitching staff seemed completely overwhelmed as well. After eight innings, Fordham eventually lost its fourth straight game in a 13-3 beating. The next day, ace pitcher Matt Mikulski, FCRH ’21, took the mound for the first game of a doubleheader to test his mettle against SJU’s explosive offense.

Without their ace pitcher in the second game on Saturday, the Rams struggled again against the Hawks.

In four games, the Hawks recorded 36 hits against Fordham pitchers, which makes Mikulski’s performance all the more impressive. In a shortened seven-inning game, the senior went the distance, allowing two hits while striking out 15 batters. 

The Rams didn’t do much offensively, but a two-run rally in the top of the third was enough for Mikulski to lead the team to a 3-1 victory. Now 6-0 on the season, the pitcher has made the difference time and again for Fordham against high-caliber opponents, and his MLB Draft prospects this summer seem to improve with every start.

Without their ace pitcher in the second game on Saturday, the Rams struggled again against the Hawks. SJU put up a run in the bottom of the first that Fordham matched in the top of the second, but the approaching onslaught could not be overcome. The 1-1 tie was broken when Garrett Crowley, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’22, allowed seven runs in the bottom of the second. Fordham didn’t score again and eventually lost 11-1 in seven innings.

In three games, it’s arguable that Fordham and SJU hadn’t yet played a competitive contest. In the first and third, the Hawks dominated the Rams at the plate, and in the second, Mikulski returned the favor and never lost control on the mound. The fourth game was neither a blowout nor a pitching showcase, but a low-scoring, closely contested game that came down to the final out.

On a weekend when Fordham struggled at bat, a hit-by-pitch was the perfect way to start, as Jason Coules, FCRH ’22, was beaned in the top of the first and advanced to first base. He stole second to put an early runner in scoring position, and Alvin Melendez, GSBRH ’21, took advantage, doubling down the left field line to drive in Coules and give Fordham a 1-0 lead.

The Rams scored another run in the top of the fifth, but the score remained largely unchanged for most of the game. Starting pitcher Gabe Karslo, GSBRH ’22, kept the Hawks in check for eight innings to maintain the 2-0 score. It all fell apart in the ninth, however, as SJU rallied to tie the game with two runs on three hits, an error and a walk. Karslo exited the game two outs short of a complete game, and Joseph Quintal, GSBRH ’21, took over but couldn’t prevent extra innings.

Poor showings obviously cloud the team’s future, but the final game of this series demonstrated that the Rams can compete without their ace on the mound under the right conditions.

Fordham has grown accustomed to extra innings this season and have been battle-tested through several marathon games. In this one, however, they only needed one more turn at bat. 

With Coules automatically placed on second base (in accordance with new extra inning rules), SJU elected to intentionally walk Nick Labella, FCRH ’21, who only had one at-bat in the game after walking three times. The two runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, and a ground ball from Selinger was enough to drive in a run and give Fordham a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 10th, SJU failed to take advantage of its runner on second base, splitting the series at two victories apiece. It was an anticlimactic end to the game, as the new extra inning rules allowed Fordham to retake the lead without recording a hit in the inning. It’s unlikely that the Rams will complain, as the victory gave them a 5-3 Atlantic 10 (A10) Conference record and may bolster their postseason seeding next month.

Without Mikulski on the mound, Fordham had a tough weekend, losing two games to an A10 rival by wide margins. Such poor showings obviously cloud the team’s future, but the final game of this series demonstrated that the Rams can compete without their ace on the mound under the right conditions. They’ll need more of those hard-fought victories (and fewer blowout losses) going forward, because even a sure-fire MLB draftee can only take them so far.