The Fairfield University baseball team’s season is in full swing. They are in the midst of a hectic stretch, facing the likes of Hofstra University, Fordham University and Saint Peter’s University in the last week.
As far as their record stands, the Stags are 23-15, with some very thrilling performances as well as coming up short on other occasions. To say that it is time to put the pedal to the medal is a complete understatement.
In the game against Hofstra last Tuesday, April 19, inconsistent hitting and multiple errors on defense doomed the Stags, as they fell 9-3 to the Pride.
“I think the biggest thing that we learned from that game was, you know, it’s a midweek game and in April things are going to happen,” Matt Bergevin ‘24 says. “I think in the end, we didn’t do enough at the plate. We made a lot of mistakes in the field with errors. We let Peter [Ostensen ‘24] down.”
“Yeah, we just came out and didn’t have our best game,” Mike Sansone ‘22 explains. “You’re not always going to have your best game here and there. We didn’t hit much outside of that first inning and we had a decent amount of errors on defense. So really, it was just an all-round poor display from all of us. We’re just going to shake this one off and move on.”
The next day, on Wednesday, April 20, the Stags traveled down I-95 to take on the Fordham Rams. Although the Stags would struggle early on, falling behind 3-0 by the end of the second inning, they would go on to play resilient baseball the rest of the way by barely squeaking past the Rams, 6-5. Key contributors to the win included outfielder Matt Zaffino ‘23 and pitcher Jack Erbeck ‘23. Zaffino had an impressive performance at the plate, going 3-4 with a home run and four runs batted in (RBIs). Erbeck tossed three shutout innings to go along with three strikeouts.
Their teammates were very pleased with the all-around performance shown by the two players and the rest of the team.
“We knew what we were coming into, you know, against another non-conference opponent after a loss,” Bergevin states. “We knew we needed to bring it a little in those first two innings, and we did come out a little flat but I thought we did a really good job as a squad turning it around. Jack [Erbeck], Mike [Marella] ‘23 and Colin McVeigh ‘24 did an overall really good job for us.”
“It was a lot better than it was the day before, that’s for sure,” Sansone says. “I thought we started off a little slow but I think we did a really good job after that second inning. Overall, I thought we did a really good job adjusting and coming together as a team by minimizing our mistakes towards the end, which I think we still need to work on more as a team.”
“It was good to see us come back from a 3-0 deficit,” head coach Bill Currier said. “To comeback and pitch well to keep them down and then our hitters got going and scored some runs. It was good to go from being down early in the game.
After a rest day on Thursday, the Stags hosted conference rival Saint Peter’s for a three-game set this past weekend at Alumni Baseball Diamond. They proceeded to sweep the Peacocks by final scores of 16-4, 18-17, and 10-0.
Leading up to the series, both Bergevin and Sansone were not only excited to take on a conference rival at home but also because of the strong home-field advantage as well as not having to travel anywhere, which the team has done a lot of as of late.
“Traveling sucks, so it is good that we are able to sleep in our own beds,” Sansone explains. “Traveling can be fun but I think sometimes as a competitor being in another environment can sort of be a disadvantage. So with that being said, we are excited to not only face a conference opponent but also play in front of a crowded right field. It should be fun, we always look forward to those games.”
“It’s exciting. It doesn’t get much better than this,” Bergevin says. “You know, obviously right field, as everybody here knows, is gonna be packed and there’s gonna be people in the stands. These are the games that we always look forward to, fans who are loud and passionate and want to cheer us on. We really like playing at home because of games, so it’ll be fun. There are a lot of people who are outside of the program who don’t exactly know us so this is a good moment to prove to the rest of the campus who we are and how we can make them proud.”
After going through a slump in the games against Hofstra and Fordham, the offense exploded against the Peacocks, with the Stags scoring a combined forty-four runs across the three-game series. The biggest contributors on offense included outfielder Paul Catalano ‘24, who had two home runs and twelve RBIs in an impressive performance, as well as Bergevin, who had a home run as well as ten RBIs that helped the Stags to an easy sweep of the Peacocks.
Furthermore, the pitching also played a big role in the series, with Jake Noviello ‘22 pitching the first perfect game in program history on Sunday, as well as graduate student Bryson Cafaro, who pitched six innings of one-run ball to go along with nine strikeouts on Friday.
Noviello’s dominant performance drew praise from his head coach.
“I’m so happy for Jake,” head coach Bill Currier said. “He has gone through rehabbing in the summer and fall and came out today and just put it all together. He had great command of his fastball and slider. He was ahead in counts all day. I’m just really happy for his outing today with everything he has been through.”
“It’s obviously a special thing but in a way it means even more knowing what I’ve been through the past year,” Noviello said. “At one point last summer I didn’t know if I would be able to throw a baseball again. But now, I can say I’ve been perfect which is pretty special. Thanks to plenty of run support and terrific fielding I can say I’m a part of Fairfield history.”
After a well-deserved rest day on Monday, the Stags will head across town to face Sacred Heart University on Tuesday, April 26 before facing Stony Brook University back on campus on Wednesday, April 27. Follow more updates on the baseball team by visiting fairfieldstags.com.