The LIU Post men’s baseball team has opened the season perfectly within East Coast Conference play after defeating the University of Bridgeport on Wednesday, March 21st, and sweeping a double-header against Queens College on Saturday, March 24th.
After losing six of seven games in Winter Park, Florida, the Pioneers came back home and squared off against the Bridgeport Purple Knights. In the East Coast Conference opener, the Pioneers got a much-needed win, knocking off the Purple Knights by a score of 12-6. Junior pitcher Bo Budkevics picked up his fourth win of the season, going 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs, walking two batters, and scattering 10 hits. Senior pitcher Paul Bischoff relieved Budkevics and was lights-out. Bischoff gets credit with the save, as he finished the game throwing 3.2 innings and only allowing two men to reach base.
In this game, the Pioneers’ offense exploded with 12 runs on 18 hits. Entering the seventh inning, the Pioneers led 8-6, but they scored four more runs in the inning, highlighted by a two-run homerun by junior catcher Anthony Corona. Later in the inning, junior third baseman Kevin Chenicek had an RBI single, and sophomore first baseman P.J. Jennings hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 12-6.
The Pioneers then had two conference games on Saturday, March 24th, in the form of a double-header against Queens College. In the first game, the Pioneers won a low-scoring battle 2-0. Senior pitcher James Stone shutout the Knights, as he threw six strong innings, only allowing three hits and four walks. Junior pitcher Anthony Zapulla closed out the game for his first save of the season. On the offensive side, Chenicek drove in the Pioneers’ first run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning, scoring junior infielder Keith Herring. Later in the sixth inning, Herring would be a part of another Pioneers’ run as he had an RBI single for the game’s final run.
In the second game between LIU and Queens, the Pioneers won 4-2. The game was tied at two as the teams entered the seventh inning. The Pioneers came to bat in the top half of the inning and broke the tie with two runs. The first run was produced by sophomore infielder Rich Maccarone when he had an RBI double. The following batter was senior outfielder Matt Simone, and he drove in Maccarone with a run-scoring single. Zapulla picked up the win after relieving starter pitcher Mike Eckerle, who threw 5.2 innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing two earned runs.
The Pioneers’ next game is at home on Thursday, March 29th, at 3:00 p.m. against Caldwell College.