It was a tale of two games for the Lions on Wednesday afternoon, as the Light Blue (18-23, 10-6 Ivy) split its doubleheader with Fordham (18-26). The Lions won the first game 6-1, but dropped the second seven-inning contest 4-2.
A little history was made at Robertson Field during game one, as birthday boy Dario Pizzano launched his fourth home run of the season over the fence in left-center field. The solo shot gave the Lions a 6-1 lead in the top of the fifth, but it also gave the junior 25 long balls for his career—tying the all-time record set by Gene Larkin, CC ’84. Larkin, who played seven years in the major leagues for the Twins, is well known for hitting a walk-off single to beat the Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
“I was trying not to think about it, but when something like that is on the line it’s just always going to be in the back of your head,” Pizzano said. “It’s an honor to be in the same category as Gene Larkin.”
Head coach Brett Boretti was quick to acknowledge the achievement, but also recognized that Pizzano still has work left to do.
“It’s great for him to achieve that in three years,” Boretti said. “He’s probably looking forward to breaking the record in the next four games.”
Another Lion who had a stellar game one was junior Nick Ferraresi. The right fielder plated a run with an RBI single in the first, and then came back to hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to put the Lions up 4-0. The Lions scored one more run that inning on a passed ball to make it 5-0.
Senior Zach Epstein got the start, his second of the season, and was dominant in six innings of work. The righty gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out three for six shutout innings.
“I thought Zach did a nice job,” Boretti said. “He had a couple walks on the day, but forced contact early and kept them off balance.”
The Rams scored their only run in the first game off of freshman George Thanopoulos in the seventh.
Game two proved to be a power outage for the Lions, who mustered just two runs in the game. Boretti was not pleased with the team’s offensive results.
“We didn’t have a really good approach offensively against an average right-handed pitcher,” he said. “Two runs isn’t going to cut it.”
It was, however, another great outing by a Light Blue pitcher. Freshman Mike Weisman got his first collegiate start and went a stellar three innings, facing the minimum while giving up one hit and fanning two.
“He’s got a good mix. He drops down a little bit, so he’s got some movement on his ball,” Boretti said of Weisman. “He keeps guys off balance as well. I thought he did a real nice job in his first start.”
The Lions got on the board first in game two as well, with junior Nick Crucet’s RBI double giving them a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. After the Rams plated two response runs off of sophomore Joey Donino in the top of the fifth, junior Eric Williams’ RBI double in the bottom of the frame tied the game at two.
The score remained that way until the top of the seventh. After inducing a groundout from the first batter, freshman David Spinosa walked the next two. Next, a soft ground ball to third had the effect of a sacrifice bunt and moved the runners to second and third with two outs. After working a 1-2 count, Spinosa then gave up an opposite-field, two-run single to Fordham’s Tim Swatek, putting the Rams up 4-2.
“We put too many guys on base—that’s how they got their runs,” Boretti said. “We’re doing something to help them there.”
The Lions will be back in action for their final Ivy series this weekend with four games against Lou Gehrig Division rival Penn, which stands at the bottom of the division. The first two games will be in Philadelphia on Friday, and the Light Blue will return to Robertson Field on Saturday for Senior Day to finish off the season.