Following a rough 0-3 start to the season, the Rowan baseball team managed to make some adjustments and earn wins in their first two home games, leading up to their trip to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Auburndale from March 10-19.
The first victory was a 3-2, 10-inning affair against Stevens Institute of Technology on Sunday.
Rowan trailed 2-0 after two innings before senior second-baseman Evan Hughes tied the game with a single in the fourth, scoring junior outfielder Nick Gallo and freshman shortstop Joe Craig. The game was won in the bottom of the tenth inning when Gallo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
On Monday, the brown and gold were able to ride their momentum from the previous game to a 10-5 win over York College of Pennsylvania in eight innings. The Spartans lead 5-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Profs’ junior outfielder Jason Clapper and sophomore designated hitter Monny Strickland both hit RBI singles to put the team within two runs.
Then in the sixth, senior outfielder Bret Phillips scored two runs on a double and Clapper added two more on a single shortly after, giving the Profs a 7-5 lead. Senior first baseman Steven Todd would add another run in the seventh before Strickland put it out of reach by scoring himself and Clapper on an inside-the-park home run off a throwing error from Spartans’ freshman catcher Seth Brosius to third base.
“It always feels good to win,” head coach Mike Dickson said after the game Monday. “I was proud of the way we played today, and proud of the way we fought back as a club.”
A critical part of both wins involved the team making adjustments at the plate, and a big offensive output can make a big difference in the dugout, says Strickland, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI against York.
“It’s a big confidence boost,” Strickland said. “When you get a hit, you feel like you’re getting into the swing of things. When you start knocking runs in, you’re giving the team momentum.”
“Especially when it’s coming from the core of the lineup,” added Clapper, who was 3-for-4 with three RBI in the same outing. “We’re the guys who are suppose to be hitting those runs in so when we can do it, the rest of the team will follow and I think that’s a great thing.”
With two straight comeback wins under its belt at home, Rowan now carries a ton of momentum into the upcoming Florida tournament.
The team will play 11 games in the RussMatt Invitational, and will use the time away to work on their team chemistry and relationships off the field. If the Profs keep playing how they did in these two games, Strickland believes the team will fair well on the trip.
“We just have to keep making adjustments, keep competing and keep grinding out on the field,” Strickland said. “We’ll get it done.”
Rowan 3, Stevens Institute 2 (Final/10), March 6
Rowan 10, York College 5 (Final/8), March 7
RussMatt Central Florida Invitational
vs. Bridgewater College, Thursday 12:30 pm
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