Baseball’s late push for NE10 Tournament
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
Needing a top-four finish in the Southwest Division to qualify for next month’s NE10 Tournament, the Owls took the back end of a doubleheader on Friday with second place American International College.
Senior Ronnie Rossomando pitched impressively in the first game, going seven innings and surrendering just one hit, along with ten strikeouts, albeit, allowing five walks with much of the damage to his stat line coming in the first inning of the game.
“Ronnie pitched really well,” coach Tim Shea said. “Other than that first inning where he walked three… but the bullpen, we gave up four runs in three innings and we need to be better.”
Freshmen pitchers Mike Ferrett and Tommy Hughes, as well as sophomore pitcher Patrick Webler, combined to give up the runs while on the mound that allowed American International to climb back into the game and ultimately win the first game of the doubleheader, 4-1.
The Owls only had one run all game, coming off the bat of senior left fielder Nick Lamberti when he delivered an RBI saccrifice fly in the third inning that scored senior shortstop Jimmy Palmer.
“We didn’t score runs either. To score one run you need an outstanding, mistake-free game and we didn’t do that,” Shea said.
The second game went more according to plan, as pitcher Joe Nemchek, a transfer student from UConn-Avery Point, began with a strong performance on the mound, striking out the side in the first inning.
However, despite recording nine strikeouts, Nemchek only lasted three and two thirds as he also gave up three hits and three earned runs in the 21 batters he faced.
The bullpen, this time by the way of freshman Jared Henry and junior Brandon Ebert, was more effective.
Henry said he was happy to do his part for the team in these crucial games coming down the line.
“It felt great to get out there,” Henry said. “These are some of the most important games we’re gonna play in all year, so to be able to pitch in one of them is special.”
“He went three and one-third scoreless innings and only allowed two hits as he worked to put six batters away via the strikeout.”
“Jared came in with a tough spot and the bases loaded and got us out of it and then [he] pitched three shutout innings,” Shea said. “I was very pleased with his performance today.”
In eight appearances out of the bullpen this season, Henry has now picked up two wins and has shaved his ERA down to 4.82 after it got as high as 6.75 at one point earlier this season.
The pitching was not the only thing working in game two, as the Owls’ bats also came to life. Seniors Connor Redahan, an infielder, Mike DeMartino, an outfielder, and Mac Finnegan, an outfielder, also collected multiple RBI’s as the team was able to pour on the offense and take the final, 16-7.
“We’re fighting for a spot out there [in the playoffs] so it was really important for us to split today,” Finnegan said. “It definitely feels good to barrel it up and put the ball in play. I wasn’t trying to do too much; I just wanted to put the ball in play and help out the team.”
Finnegan has battled injuries the last two seasons, but has been a contributing factor this spring for the Owls, in the form of 24 runs scored, 34 hits, 32 RBI and a .245 batting average.
“It means a lot [to be back],” he said. “I love being out here. It’s been a long wait and [now] I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The Owls are now 5-6 in divisional play, currently sitting in fifth place in the Southwest behind Adelphi, American International, Pace and Le Moyne. The Owls will need to improve to be in at least fourth place by the time the regular season ends to get into the conference tournament.
Down the stretch, the Owls have seven games left in their season. They face American International once more, Pace University three times, including one doubleheader at home, and then a matchup University of New Haven on April 30.
Throughout their seven games, six will be played with at the SCSU Ballpark.
“It’s great to be at home,” Shea said. “The kids love to play in front of their parents and their fans so it’s a huge advantage in terms of feeling comfortable and not having to travel. We’re glad we’re staying home for pretty much every game the rest of the way.”