Backed by offense, baseball wins
Edward Rudman – News Writer
The Owls baseball picked up its first win of the season in its home opener when they defeated Felician University 14-9 on Wednesday, March 31. The Owls improved to 1-2 on the season with the win. Felician dropped to 3-9 with the loss.
“The more we play, the more consistent we’re going to become,” said Head Coach Tim Shea. “As I told the guys at the end of this game, the win was great but the team that played today is not going to be the same team in a month from now once we start to play some games and can get really consistent out there on the field. Pitching, defense and hitting, we’re going to get better and it’s nice when you’re not playing your best and you get a win.”
The game was close throughout and the Owls had to put together a huge offensive eighth inning to get the game out of Felician’s reach. Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the game was tied 7-7 after Felician scored three runs in the top of the inning.
The Owls’ bats got hot though, scoring seven runs and making the game 14-7 after the eighth had wrapped up. Catcher Billy Sullivan, a sophomore, drove in three of those runs when he notched a triple with the bases loaded. It was Sullivan’s first collegiate hit of his career.
“Coming off of last year, the shortened season, it definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth because I wasn’t happy with my performance as a whole,” said Sullivan. “I hate letting my team down and I’m very fortunate that Coach Shea kind of gave me an opportunity late in the game. Going up there, I wanted to have a very simple approach, just try to stay with it and get a good pitch to hit and I wanted to do it for my team.”
In the top of the ninth, Felician showed heart and scored twice off of two solo home runs, but the lead the Owls created for themselves in the eighth proved to be insurmountable. Outfielder Andrew Eng, a junior, smashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the third, his third home run this season in as many games.
He’s the first player in program history to hit a home run in each of the first three games of a season and he leads the team in RBIs with eight through three games.
Middle fielder Anthony Zambito, a junior, led the Owls on hits for the day, going 4 for 6 and driving in two runs. He also noticed two stolen bases. Four hits are his career high as an Owl for a single game. Pitcher Mike Szturma, a freshman, got the start on the mound. He pitched three innings.
Szturma pitched three innings, allowed two earned runs, and struck out three batters. Pitcher Tommy Hughes, a junior, was awarded the win on the day, making his record 1-0 on the season.
He came in during the top of the eighth inning and secured the games with the last five outs.
“Having not played in over a year, the first time we played was against Adelphi on Saturday, and then to come home and get a game, and I’m very appreciative to our administration for allowing us to add this game,” said Shea. “This was an add on game, it wasn’t on the schedule and they understand that these guys want to play. We don’t play again until after Easter and hopefully we can keep the thing rolling.”