By Michael Otero
The baseball team opened up conference play on Thursday, March 24, when they hosted Molloy College. The Pioneers suffered a 5-2 loss to drop to 8-9 on the season.
The Pioneers drew first blood in the fourth inning when freshman outfielder Joe Piscitelli cracked a single with two runners on, plating them both to give the Green and Gold a 2-0 advantage.
Junior pitcher Jake DeCarli was in cruise control until the sixth inning when things began to unravel. With a runner on second and one out, Molloy stringed three straight hits together and plated two runs. They took a 3-2 lead on an RBI ground out.
The arms in the Molloy bullpen threw up zeros and put down any hopes of a Pioneer comeback. A pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning took some life out of the Pioneers and they went down without a fight in the ninth inning.
DeCarli tossed seven innings and surrendered 11 hits. He also allowed four earned runs and fanned three. At the dish, the Pioneers put 11 base runners on, but only plated two of them. They also left nine men on base.
The Pioneers looked to bounce back on Saturday, March 26, when they played against the very same Lions from Molloy College in a double-header. Although the venue changed, the results were still the same; losses for the Pioneers.
The Lions struck first this time, sending three players across home plate in the second inning against junior pitcher Dan Jagiello. The Pioneers cut into the deficit in the top of the seventh inning when junior outfielder Kenny Daley notched his first round tripper of the season. The Pioneers put a couple of runners on base later in the inning, but couldn’t send them around to score.
Just like Thursday, Molloy was able to get key insurance runs late in the game to further expand their lead and they took the opener by a score of 5-1.
In the second game of the double-header, the Pioneer bats were stifled by Lions hurler Bobby Kelly. The Pioneers managed a lone single against him while Kelly was able to go the distance, allowing zero runs and striking out three.
Red-shirt junior pitcher Joey Arena put up a valiant effort for the Pioneers, going a respectable six innings and striking out two while allowing three runs (two earned). The Lions plated their three runs before the fifth inning. In the first, they scored on a wild pitch and in the fourth inning, they plated two on a fielding error.
Head Coach Mike Gaffney and his team will look to get back on track when they travel to play St. Thomas Aquinas College on Friday, April 1. First-pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.