By Michael Otero
Co-Editor in Chief
The baseball team opened up a four game set against the University of Bridgeport on Friday, April 15. The Pioneers welcomed the Purple Knights to Brookville, N.Y. with three first inning runs and a total of eight in an 8-2 pounding.
The first run on the afternoon was plated by junior outfielder Kenny Daley and then freshman outfielder Dave Brehm followed that up with a two-RBI double. After the Purple Knights trimmed the lead to 3-1, the Pioneers got that run back on an RBI base hit by freshman third baseman Jimmy Mendyk.
Mendyk drove in another run in the sixth inning and in the later innings, senior first baseman David Groeneveld and sophomore shortstop Joe Spitaleri each plated runs with singles.
On the bump, junior pitcher Jake DeCarli tossed eight innings and allowed five hits while punching out seven batters.
The Pioneers and Purple Knights met up again for a double-header in West Haven, Conn. on Saturday, April 16. Seeking redemption from a loss one night earlier, the Purple Knights came out strong and won the two games 6-4 and 8-1.
In the home half of the first inning, the Purple Knights delivered two back-breaking runs with two outs off of junior pitcher Dan Jagiello. The Pioneers cut the lead in half with a single by sophomore outfielder Rob Andreoli that scored senior middle infielder Matt Bowers.
Up 2-1, the Purple Knights scored a combined four runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 6-1 lead into the seventh inning. After the Pioneer bullpen kept the Purple Knights off the board for the rest of the game, the offense flirted with a comeback. The Pioneers scored two runs in the ninth inning, but fell 6-4 in game one.
At the dish, Andreoli and Bowers both had two-RBI efforts in the loss. The nightcap, unfortunately for the Pioneers, saw the Purple Knight bats catch fire.
The hosts mashed 12 hits and brought home eight runs compared to just one run for the Pioneers on three hits. The Pioneer defense wasn’t impressive either, committing four errors in the game.
For the Purple Knights, six players totaled RBIs led by outfielder Tyler Gambardella who drove in a pair.
The Pioneers returned to the comfortable setting of Brookville, N.Y. for the final game of their four game set against the Purple Knights on Sunday, April 17. The high-scoring affair ended up favoring the Pioneers as they won a slugfest, 13-12.
The Pioneers opened up the scoring in the first inning with two runs, one on a sacrifice fly
and another on a wild pitch. After three scoreless innings from both teams, the Purple Knights struck and connected with four runs over a three inning span. In that spurt, Bridgeport third baseman Alnaydo Rodriguez drove in two runs to propel his team to a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pioneers battled back to tie and take the lead with four runs. The go-ahead hit came curtesy of Andreoli, who doubled to make it 6-4 Pioneers. The Pioneers extended their lead to 12-4 thanks to key hitting contributions from Spitaleri, Andreoli and Groeneveld.
Trailing by eight runs in the eighth inning, the Purple Knights put on an offensive onslaught. After the first two batters were retired, nine batters came to the plate and eight runs came around to score to tie the game at 12. There was only one extra base hit during that stretch by the Purple Knights, but baserunner after baserunner came around to score.
Tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Pioneers avoided extra innings by coming through in the clutch. Groeneveld delivered the goods with a one-out single that scored Andreoli for the walk- win.
Offensively, four Pioneers had multi-hit games led by Andreoli, who had three hits. He also tied for the game-high in RBIs on the team with Spitaleri; both of whom had three.
The Pioneer bats will look to stay hot when they travel to Queens to play Queens College on Friday, April 22. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.