Baseball claims playoff ticket
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
The Owls, who battled all season long for a 19-26 overall record—including an 8-10 divisional mark and 10-15 conference tally—have reached the postseason for the first time in three seasons.
They played Adelphi, the top team in the Southwest Division, on Wednesday in the Southwest Division’s Play-In Game, one of several opening round matchups on the afternoon.
They defeated Saint Rose last week, as head coach Tim Shea picked up his 467th win, a program record, but came up short Thursday afternoon to the Pace Setters.
“We lost some games early on in the year that we shouldn’t have, and when you do that it tends to come back and bite you, but I do feel that we’re better then our record indicates,” Shea said. “We battled to the end and got another opportunity.”
To keep pace in the Southwest, the Owls picked up a crucial 3-1 win over Saint Rose on May 1 as senior starting pitcher Ronnie Rossomando battled it out over seven innings, with eight strikeouts, and redshirt senior left fielder Nick Lamberti brought home a 2-for-3 day at the plate, raising his average up to .326.
“Ronnie pitched great. Other than the two-out hit in the first inning, he gave us eight strong,” said Shea, “and he’s been doing that for us but we just haven’t given him a ton of run support so I’m glad we were able to get him a win on Senior Day.”
Rossomando, who came to the Owls after three years with UConn, has been up-and-down with a 2-5 record and 4.27 ERA, but he has struck out 73 batters while only walking 32 this season.
However, he was able to get enough offense from his teammates for the tworun victory last week, with sophomore first baseman John Spoto scoring off a two-run double in the fifth and redshirt senior shortstop Jimmy Palmer following that up with an RBI to left field.
“It was an emotional day for all of us seniors having our parents come out and everybody came out, and played hard to get a big win and keep us alive for the playoffs,” Palmer said. “and Coach Shea’s a great coach and I’m glad we could be a part of history and get that win for him.”
However even with reaching the milestone and going one win ahead of his former boss in Owls hall of famer Joe Bandiera, Shea was selfless.
“When you think about it, current players, former players, current coaches, former coaches…they’re just as much a part of this as anybody, and it is what it is,” he said.
However, the Owls still had work to do. They came into Thursday’s contest with Pace with a few scenarios to try to make the playoffs, including winning the game and having the Setters take two of three this past weekend over American International or having Adelphi sweep Le Moyne. They ended up getting shut out but getting some luck from the Setters’ sweep of the Yellow Jackets.
“We stubbed our toes a little bit; we lost a New Haven game 2-1, the Adelphi game 2-1, and it put us in a situation where we didn’t control our own destiny,” Shea said.
But ultimately, despite an up-and-down season and being under the .500 mark, this year the Owls are playoff bound.
“We’ve played hard all year,” Palmer said. “We tried to battle but [the Pace pitcher] just had his stuff today.
Photo Credit: Will Aliou