Fairfield University men’s baseball team continued their southern road trip, traveling to Georgia to face the Kennesaw State Owls in a weekend three-game series starting Feb. 25.
After beating Elon University twice in a three-game stint, the Stags have started off the year strong and are eager to build off of last year’s historic season.
The first game of the series against the Owls was certainly a thriller, where Fairfield took an early 4-1 lead by the fourth inning.
Charlie Pagliarini ‘23 helped the Stags score the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the first. Graduate student Colin Kelly would add another sacrifice fly in the second, followed by Mike Becchetti ‘23, who smoked an RBI single to make the lead 3-0.
After another Kelly RBI in the fourth, the Stags had a comfortable lead and looked in complete control of the ball game. Senior Michael Sansone would help the Stags keep this lead for seven innings from the mound, only allowing two runs on five hits. Sansone struck out four and did not walk a single batter, displaying a very efficient afternoon.
After a walk-in run by Matt Zaffino ‘23, Fairfield would extend the lead to 5-2 in the seventh inning, where the Stags looked like they were going to grab their third win on the year thus far.
The Owls would quickly load the bases in the eighth inning and would score three, tying the game at five apiece. The Owls started off the ninth with a single and got the winning run into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Cash Young walked off with a single to end the game tragically for the Stags.
A very disappointing defeat for Fairfield, the game slipped out of their hands in the final closing innings. With that being said, the Stags will have two more opportunities to get revenge on the Owls and win the series overall.
The second game started off very slowly, neither team was putting many runners on base or creating many opportunities to score. The Stags got on the scoreboard first, with a solo Mike Becchetti home run in the third inning, which marked his second of the season.
The Owls answered immediately with a run of their own in the bottom of the third, tying the game and putting the pressure back on the Stags.
The game would remain an even battle until the fifth inning, where Kennesaw scored three runs and stretched the lead to 1-4 for the Owls.
Fairfield did not go out without a fight and would have one final rally in the 8th inning, where Matt Bergevin ‘24 and Matt Venuto ‘23 both hit RBI singles to bring the game within one run.
Fortunately for the Owls, they were able to scrap their way out of trouble and strand the tying run at third base. The Stags would get another opportunity to either tie or take the lead but would fail and lose 3-4 in another very disappointing loss.
With two straight losses in the series, the Stags’ morale had definitely taken a hit and a win is a must to salvage anything out of this road trip. The last game of the series would be only a seven inning affair, putting a lot of pressure on Fairfield.
Despite the two-game losing skid, the Stags once again took an early lead thanks to a Ryan Strollo ‘23 RBI single. With a lead early on in the game, it was essential that Fairfield contained the Owls offense.
The Stags managed to hold the lead or remained tied for half of the game, until Kennesaw State completely opened up the game in the fifth inning, plating seven runs to build their lead to 1-7. They would not stop there, scoring one more run in each inning to make the score 1-9. Fairfield would have six hits but would only score that one early run.
The Stags will continue to travel on the road, as they are on a 20 game away stint. They are facing Saint Joseph’s University, where they will play in another three game series starting Friday, March 4 at 3:00 pm. Make sure to show your support and go Stags!