Mother nature has not treated the Fairfield University baseball team too kindly this past week, as the team was set to play five games, a home series against Sacred Heart University and then a three-game series against Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. The large amounts of rainfall in both Connecticut and New Jersey resulted in the Rider series being scrapped and the final game of the home-and-home series against crosstown rival Sacred Heart being postponed as well.
The Stags did, however, manage to play a game of baseball this past week, as they were able to sneak a game in on Tuesday, April 25 against the Pioneers at Alumni Baseball Diamond. After a rough go-out-of-the-gate with two Sacred Heart home runs, one at the top of the first and the other at the top of the third, the Stags found a way to get going. The bottom of the fourth inning brought new life to the Stags, as graduate student left fielder Griffin Watson singled down the left field line to give the herd their first hit of the outing. He later succeeded in running the bases after he crossed home thanks to two groundouts from first baseman Charlie Pagliarni ‘23 and second baseman Mike Becchetti ‘23 to cut the Sacred Heart lead in half.
The bottom of the fifth inning saw Fairfield turn the tables, as the Stags staged a three-run rally. Designated hitter Matt Bucciero ‘26 started things off with a walk, followed by catcher AJ Donofrio ‘23 taking a hit by pitch, advancing the freshman to second. Third baseman Dean Ferrara ‘25 proceeded to belt a three-run blast to left center to put the herd in the driver’s seat for the first time in the afternoon with a two-run lead, his first of his career.
Fairfield did not add anything else to the scoreboard for the rest of the afternoon, but it did manage to shut down the Sacred Heart offense thanks to their bullpen. After relieving starter lefty Blake Helmstetter ‘24, who pitched three innings to go along with five strikeouts, the trio of Kevin Kell ‘26, Jake Memoli ‘26 and Baker Bowen ‘24 finished the job by limiting the Pioneers to five hits and only one run across six innings. Kell, who collected his first win of the season, pitched two frames while only surrendering two hits. Memoli took control of the following two innings, retiring one batter and giving up one hit. Bowen collected the save by putting away two batters and one earned run.
The Stags went on to win thanks to Watson playing the role of hero by making a terrific defensive play. With a runner on second, Sacred Heart outfielder Justin Jorda hit a single to left, which enabled Pioneers outfielder Zach Kovalchik to advance home. Watson made a deep throw from left to home, which got the runner out to secure the victory. Fairfield took the win, 4-3, and improved their overall record to 24-14.
“Our pitchers did a nice job of keeping them down besides the three solo home runs,” Head Coach Bill Currier said, according to the game’s official press release. “It wasn’t a good offensive day other than certainly Dean’s three-run homer so it was good that we hung tough and kept the game close. We haven’t been in a lot of close games either way, especially low-scoring. I’m happy the guys battled and got ahead and then stayed ahead.”
The two Fairfield-based institutions were scheduled to duel once again on Wednesday, April 26, this time across town at Sacred Heart. As mentioned earlier, the game did not occur due to the inclement weather in the Fairfield area. As a result, the matchup will now be held on Wednesday, May 3 at 2 p.m. The three-game series that the Stags were scheduled to partake in against Rider University also did not occur due to a poor forecast in Lawrenceville, as that series will not be made up.
The Stags will return to gameplay on Tuesday, May 2 with a trek to Stony Brook, N.Y., to take on Stony Brook University. After the Sacred Heart contest, Fairfield will play host to Canisius College from May 5 to 7 at Alumni Baseball Diamond. For more information on Fairfield baseball and athletics as a whole, please visit www.fairfieldstags.com for updated news.