The Fairfield University baseball team played three games this past weekend, with a fourth being canceled due to inclement weather. The Stags were supposed to start their weekend of away games at the University of Richmond on Friday before that game was rained out. That game will not be made up. The Fairfield team looked to increase their record to over .500 on the season after winning their last series against George Washington University.
Moving on to Saturday, the team faced off with The College of William and Mary in a closely contested contest that saw the game come down to the final three innings. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the top of the sixth before graduate student Noah Lucier and Matt Venuto ‘23 were able to both score off of a passed ball and an RBI single from Mike Becchetti ‘23, respectively. The Stags scored two more in the eighth when graduate student Mike Handal scored on a wild pitch and when graduate student Griffin Watson drove in a run with an RBI single.
The ninth was the most productive inning for Fairfield, as the first six batters of the inning would reach base safely. The reigning MAAC Player of the Week Charlie Pagliarini ‘23, Nick Sturino ‘25 and Lucier would all hit RBI singles in the inning to increase the lead to 8-3. Grant Smeltzer ‘25 picked up his first career save after causing a groundout in a tricky situation where the bases were loaded with William and Mary down by four. Graduate student pitcher Jake Noviello would have a great game for the Stags as well, giving up one run over five and ⅔ innings. It was a great victory for the Stags against a solid William and Mary squad that they looked to build on in their doubleheader the next day against Virginia Commonwealth University.
Fairfield completed their short road trip to Virginia with a doubleheader against VCU on Sunday, in which they came away with a victory and a loss. These two games were played with a seven-inning format instead of the traditional nine-inning due to the nature of it being a doubleheader. The day started out tough with a 9-3 defeat, which saw the Stags give up nine runs in the first four innings of the game. The Rams crushed a grand slam in the third inning, which was a major blow to the Stags early on. Despite the loss, Watson had a strong performance with two hits and a run, and Matt Bergevin ‘24 added two RBIs in the process. In addition, pitchers Bo Buckley ‘25 and graduate student Ryan Smith each contributed a hitless inning to end the contest.
The second game of the day started slowly with neither team scoring much until the top of the seventh. Fairfield entered the inning trailing 2-1 to the Rams, but quickly got into striking range after catcher Ethan Hibbard ‘23, Sturino and Handal all got on base to start the inning. After VCU made a pitching change, Watson stepped into the box and was drilled in the ankle by the first pitch from the new pitcher, bringing in the game-tying run. After the next batter struck out, Becchetti drove in two with a single up the middle. Bechetti put on an offensive showcase in this game as he recorded three hits. Pagliarini added the final run of the inning after hitting into a fielder’s choice which resulted in a run.
After the four-run rally, they entered the bottom of the seventh leading 5-2. Lefty Bowen Baker ‘24 would come in to toss a scoreless inning at the bottom of the seventh to record the first save of his career. Colin McVeigh ‘24 kept the team in the game early as he struck out six batters and only gave up two runs over the first five innings.
“McVeigh kept us close with some big pitches in counts and stranded runners in scoring position more than once,” Head Coach Bill Currier said, according to the game’s official recap. ” Bo Baker pitched solid innings in relief all weekend. Becchetti had a very nice weekend with clutch-hitting and solid defense. Hibbard [had a] big leadoff hit in the seventh to start off the comeback.”
After this weekend’s games, the Stags currently sit at 5-4 on the season.
Fairfield will look to continue their success this season when they head to the Sunshine State this weekend for a three-game stretch against North Florida University in Jacksonville, Fla., and then a two-game stand against Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. For more information on the Fairfield baseball program and Fairfield athletics as a whole, please visit www.fairfieldstags.com for more information.