The Fairfield University baseball team spent the weekend on the road once again for a series against the James Madison University Dukes, to which the Stags were unfortunately swept and have yet to collect their first win of the 2024 season. 

The Stags seem to have gotten to a slow start this season, despite explosive displays on the offensive side. 

In the first inning of the series opener, catcher and graduate student Ethan Hibbard hit a bomb to center field bringing in first baseman Matt Bergevin ‘24 and shortstop Dean Ferrara ‘25 to put the Stags up by three runs. The Dukes responded with a single and scored on an infield error, but the Stags quickly made up for it by bringing home another in the top of the 2nd inning. 

The Duke’s offense did not falter, though, as they kept scoring consistently. Their third baseman homered in the 3rd and 5th innings, rivaling Hibbards and evening out the score to 5-5 going into the 6th inning. 

Thanks to a left fielder TJ Schmalzle ‘26 single, designated hitter Matt Lussier ‘27 and third baseman Luke Nomura ‘26, the Stags were ahead, but not for long as JMU clapped back and scored five runs in the 7th inning. Fairfield tried to rally it back, but was ultimately stopped at nine runs after Lussier hit a RBI single and pinch hitter JP Kuczik ‘26 hit a RBI double to bring Lussier home and a scoreless 9th inning; the final score was 9-10. 

On the pitching end, Fairfield saw four pitchers on the mound. Starting RHP Colin McVeigh ‘24 had a final line of 4 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB and 5 K. Coming in to relieve McVeigh in the bottom of the 5th was RHP Peter Ostensen ‘24 who had a final line of 2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB and 1 K and collected the loss. RHP Peter Phillips ‘26 and graduate student RHP Jack Erbeck both went one inning or less to close the last third of the game.

The next game saw a relatively low-scoring and broken-up game on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. In the first two innings, the Stags were scoreless while starting LHP Bowen Baker ‘24 went two innings and unfortunately gave up three earned runs from a sequence of a single, a wild pitch and a home run. Play was suspended in the second inning due to inclement weather, and was resumed as a doubleheader on Sunday.

Graduate student RHP Kyle Lesler was put in to start the resumed game in the bottom of the 3rd.

After four scoreless innings for the Stags offense, they showed signs of life and took advantage of poor pitching as Sturino hit a 2 RBI triple down the right field line to bring home Bergevin who was hit by a pitch and Hibbard who walked. JMU did not leave these runs unanswered, though, as they themselves were beneficiaries of being hit by a pitch and a passed ball to which they singled and picked up another run. 

Both teams were unable to score past the fourth inning, and a mini-pitching battle ensued. RHP Kevin Kell ‘26 was put in for Lesler, and his fresh arm took a minute to warm up but was supported by the defense to collect all three necessary outs without giving up a run. Lesler then heated up by the 6th inning, striking out 3 in a row looking to close the side. Kell put up an impressive line of 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB and 4 K. The final score was 2-4.

For the last game, the Stags had a deficit of four runs by the top of the 3rd and finally answered with two singles and an RBI from Hibbard. Following that was a homer in the bottom of the third and a 3 RBI homer in the bottom of the fourth, making the score 1-8 by the fifth inning. 

Bergevin crushed a 3 RBI home run to center field, bringing the Stags up to four runs, which they remained for the rest of the game. 

In terms of pitching, starting RHP Ben Alekson ‘27 had a final line of 2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB and 3 K. LHP Blake Helmstetter came in as reinforcement for two innings and gave up 4 earned runs. RHP Ryan Maiorano ‘27 faced 4 batters in the bottom of the 5th and gave up 4 earned runs, to which graduate student LHP Chris DiFiore was put in to stop the bleeding for the last 2 innings, who also gave up 4 earned runs. The final score was 4-16.

Despite the sweep, there are highlights that are glimpses of the full potential yet to be reached by this season’s squad. Kell’s outing was just as impressive as his first in Fairfield’s first series, and he holds opposing hitters to a .158 average when pitching. Hitting is still growing strong, as Lussier, Bucciero Bergevin and Sturino are steadily hitting. Ferrera is currently batting .500. 

The Stags face the George Mason University’s Patriots next, traveling to Virginia for a three-game series next weekend.

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- Freshman | Assistant Sports Editor | Political Science Major -

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