Big bats lead to double-header sweep
Explosive early innings lead to baseball blowing out Queens College back-to-back
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
After a disappointing loss in game one of a three game set with Queens College, the baseball team came home to The Ballpark looking to flip the switch, sweeping Sunday’s doubleheader against Queens College, winning 12-5 in game one and 10-5 in game two.
“We didn’t play well at all yesterday,” said head coach Tim Shea. “We talked about bouncing back, a new day, we had to correct some things. But overall, I was pleased.”
The Owls started out in an early hole in game one, as starting pitcher gave up a leadoff single to the Knights’ left fielder Louis Antos, a senior, who came around to score just two batters later to give Queens the 1-0 edge.
In the second inning, the Owls’ offense came out aggressive at the plate, exploding for eight runs, all coming with two outs. Second baseman Anthony Zambito, a junior, put his team on the board with a bases loaded single to give the Owls the lead 2-1. The next batter, rookie shortstop Zach Bedryzcuk, drove in two more on a single and an error, and then the heavy hitters in the middle, right fielder Conor Redahan, a senior, catcher/designated hitter Mike DeMartino, a senior, and corner infielder Mike Ferrett, a sophomore, finished the job to give the Owls the 8-1 lead early.
“I think after yesterday, we had kind of a rough day,” said Ferrett, “but we came to The Ballpark ready to play – everybody had real good approaches [at the plate] today, we were just getting our pitches that we wanted to hit, we were getting into really good counts.”
While the offense headlined the beginning of game one, the Owls delivered a phenomenal outing from their starting pitcher Joe Nemchek, a junior, and former transfer from UConn Avery Point. Nemchek went six strong innings, surrendering just one run on three hits, five walks and nine strikeouts before turning the mound over to the bullpen, picking up his first win of the season.
In game two, the narrative remained the same for the Owls, as they were led by quality starting pitching and big bats, but Queens jumped out on top for a tad bit longer.
The Knights took an early 2-0 lead, which staggered Southern’s starter Brandon White, a sophomore, in the early going. The first baseman Ferrett was able to deliver a two-run single for the Owls in the bottom half of the first, but the Knights regained the lead in the top of the second at 3-2, where the Owls made multiple defensive errors, which they also did in game one. The Owls made six errors in both games combined, five of which came in the early going of game two.
“It’s reps, it’s all about reps,” said Shea. “Some of the stupid mistakes that we made, line drives, throwing the ball into right field, things like that, those things will clean up — getting in front of a ground ball, [it] takes a bad hop, or over-running a ball in the outfield. We anticipate that stuff will clean up.”
In the home-half of the second inning, the Owls bats once again went off for big numbers, as they scored six in the inning.
Center fielder Nolan Cloutier, a senior, begun the rally with a leadoff single and a stolen base, before being driven in by Bedryzcuk. After left fielder Cam O’Toole and Redahan were hit by pitches in back-to-back at-bats, DeMartino drove in two. The next batter was Ferrett, who slugged a homerun over the left field scoreboard, his first of the season, to cap off the rally.
“I went up just looking for a fastball, and that’s my approach – always first pitch I’m looking fastball, and I hit it and all of a sudden my mind just kind of went blank,” Ferrett said. “I knew it was gone immediately. When you hit it that well, sometimes you don’t even feel it off the bat and that’s the feeling that I got.”
With the lead back at 8-3, White settled down. He ended up pitching five innings and surrendered just two hits. He gave up three runs, though only one was earned, and struck out 10 batters to pick up his second win of the season.
“In the beginning I wasn’t throwing many strikes,” said White. “Then we settled in. I started throwing more strikes, more strikeouts and everything was sailing from there.”
The game was called by the umpires in the seventh inning, giving the Owls the sweep on the day. With the two wins, Southern improved to 6-3-1 on the young season.
“I’m excited about where we are, the energy that we have as a group has been fantastic,” said Shea. “We have to play complete games now; we have to put the hitting together with the pitching and the defense.”
Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo