Baseball christens new ballpark with victories

James Evans

This past Wednesday the ‘Cats hosted the Bucknell Bisons at their park in Plymouth Meeting. Bucknell came in to the game with a record of 8-5, while the ‘Cats were on the other end of the spectrum with a record of 5-11. However, the ‘Cats were able to rally around James Baxter and pull out the 4-2 victory, in a rain shortened contest.

Baxter, a sophomore left-hander, picked up the win, by going six innings, striking out 10 and only allowed two runs.

On the offensive side of the ball, Brian Trotta paced the ‘Cats as he hit a two-run double in ‘Nova’s four run fourth inning rally. Adrian Schau and Freddie Thon knocked in the other runs in the inning.

The Bisons put two runs on the board in the fifth inning as they got an RBI double from Kyle Walter and a RBI single from Austin Barrett. However, that would be the last time Bucknell would make a dent into the ‘Cat’s lead as Baxter kept them scoreless for the next inning. In the seventh inning, Mike Ciccotelli came on to close the door on the Bisons and did just that, allowing only one hit and retiring the three other batters.

Last Tuesday, in the first round of the annual Liberty Bell Classic, the ‘Cats lost a close-knit game to the Temple Owls. The match-up at Veteran Stadium featured two Philadelphia teams that have been struggling when it comes to picking up wins. ‘Nova entered the game on a two game skid, while the Owls were a paltry 2-13 on the season. However, this match-up of mediocrity seemed to go the Owls way.

The ‘Cats looked good early, as Adrian Schau had a RBI single to get the ‘Cats on the board. After Jake Wolff struck out the side in the first inning, it seemed as if the ‘Cats had the upper hand. However, Wolff began to have accuracy trouble in the second inning, after walking a batter and then hitting another, he gave up a three run homer, to give the Owls the lead, 3-1. ‘Nova came right back, scoring a run in the third, on a Schau two-out single to score Chris Graziano and cut the lead to 3-2. Wolff settled down and began to dominate the Owls batters, striking out the side again in the third.

‘Nova was able to tie the game in the fifth when Danny Poydenis came through with an RBI single, however, Temple responded in the bottom of the fifth, with two runs and knocked Wolff out of the game.

With the game tied at five in the seventh, ‘Nova took its first lead since the beginning of the game, when Graziano led off the inning with a triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Schau, his third RBI of the game.

In the eighth inning the ‘Cats were looking to shut down the Owls and give closer, James Russell, a chance for a save. However, with a man on first and two-outs Temple’s Frank Hilliard doubled down the leftfield line, ‘Nova had a perfect relay to the plate to nail the runner, but the ball slipped under the catcher’s glove, allowing the Owls to score the tying run.

Then after ‘Nova was held scoreless in top of the ninth, Temple took advantage, when Jason Connor singled home the winning run off Schau.

Last weekend ‘Nova opened their new ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, with a three-game series against Big East rival Notre Dame.

The first game provided the most drama of the series as both teams battled into extra innings, before the ‘Cats were eventually able to pull out the 3-2 victory in the 13th inning.

After the Irish were able to scratch off a run in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2, both bullpens came through. Each bullpen was able to hold the other team scoreless for six innings.

The ‘Cats had the first chance to win in the bottom of the 11th inning when they had Trotta standing at second base and two outs. Poydenis then came through with what seemed like it would be the game winning single to left field. However, the Irish’s leftfielder Chris Cooper threw a dart to the plate and nailed Trotta to keep the game tied.

Before the ‘Cats could win it in the bottom on the 13th they would be tested in the top of the inning. Notre Dame had a man at third and no outs to start the inning off.

However Dan Farino came on to strike out the next batter and got Brennan Grogan to line a shot to shortstop Trotta, who leaped and caught the ball and then picked off theIrish runner at third.

To start out the bottom of the 13th the ‘Cat’s Ryan Crammar led the inning off with a single to center and then advanced one out later on a passed ball. A walk to Graziano and a passed ball later, put the winning run only 90 feet away from the plate.

Poydenis then came up with a hard grounder down the third base bag, that bounced off third base and allowed Crammar to score the winning run.

Due to the length of the game on Sunday, the teams decided to push the second game to the double header to Monday.

The ‘Cat’s thirteen inning win would be the last one they would see in the series as the Irish were able to take the weekend series, by winning the next two games 3-2 and 5-1, respectively.

‘Nova will travel down to Storrs, Conn. this weekend to take on UConn in a three game series. For the first part of the series ‘Nova will play a double-header on Saturday. Then they play the series finale on Sunday.