By Michael Otero
Coming off a win against Bridgeport on Friday, April 17, led by sophomore pitcher Jake DeCarli, who tossed seven innings of shutout ball, the Pioneers looked to make it five straight wins and two in a row against the Purple Knights. In game one of the doubleheader on Saturday, April 18, the Pioneers suffered a gut-wrenching loss in extra innings by a score of 3-2.
The Pioneers got the scoring started in the second inning as junior infielder Matt Bowers connected for a base hit through the left side to score senior infielder Anthony Brunetti. The pitching held up strong for the Green and Gold as sophomore hurler James Long scattered his nine hits over eight innings and allowed just two runs. The Purple Knights evened up the score and took the lead in the seventh on back-to-back RBI singles.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of ninth inning, the Pioneers plated the tying run thanks to a throwing error by the Purple Knights. The Pioneer bats managed a measly six hits over the 12 inning contest and gave up 14 to the opposition. The big blow game in the top of the 12 inning as junior infielder Dave Egeland ripped a double to give his squad the 3-2 lead and the win.
In the second game, the Pioneers suffered a similar fate as they lost 10-0 and committed seven errors. For the Purple Knights, junior pitcher Rob Anderson remained undefeated on the season after earning his sixth win. The righty tossed seven innings while striking out nine and allowing just three baserunners all game.
On the eight scoring plays for the Purple Knights, seven of them came because of sloppy defense by the Pioneers and they were unearned as a result. Senior first baseman Tim Bickford smashed his first home run on the year in the win as well.
The Pioneers returned to action on Sunday, April 19, looking for a split in the four game series. They earned the victory thanks to their offense, which put up 11 runs and 15 hits.
After the Pioneers and Purple Knights traded runs in the first inning, the Pioneers jumped ahead 2-1 on an RBI single by junior outfielder John Bellock. In their half of the second inning, the Purple Knights came back to tie the game at two and take the lead thanks to a two RBI base knock from freshman infielder Jose Negron.
Trailing 4-2 heading into the seventh inning, the Pioneers responded and put a four spot on the board and led 6-4. Looking for some insurance runs, LIU added five runs their half of the eighth inning, essentially putting to bed any hopes of a Bridgeport comeback.
Sophomore outfielder Kenny Daley drove in five runs on the afternoon while graduate outfielder Vinny Iacono totaled three hits and two runs scored. Sophomore pitcher Dan Jagiello improved to 4-1 on the season, striking out eight over eight innings and giving up four runs.
Head Coach Mike Gaffney and his squad return to the diamond on Thursday, April 23, when the visit Franklin Pierce University. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.