Baseball is a funny game. The biggest moments can come at any point in the game’s 27 outs.
A 1-0 game can be decided in the first or last pitch or anywhere in between.
A 6-4 game could come down to a one out sacrifice bunt in the third inning.
And that’s exactly how the first seed Profs lost game one of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament to sixth seed Rutgers-Newark.
Starting pitcher Andrew DiPiazza, who had 12 strikeouts in six innings, gave up two walks in the top of the third inning. Then, with one out, came the bunt. On a ball that should have been an out, the runner reached base safely.
“If we field[ed] that bunt,” said Head Coach Mike Dickson, “we would’ve been out of that inning with no runs.”
Four runs crossed the plate after that, which decided the game.
Don’t think the Profs are letting this hiccup stop them, though.
“Nothing’s changed just because we lost a game,” DiPiazza, “I mean people are frustrated, the team, the coaches. You don’t want to lose a game that you’re supposed to win… Every time you lose a game, it lights a fire again and makes you think about why you’re here and what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Losing this early in the tournament is not ideal, but that doesn’t mean the Brown and Gold can’t bounce back and win it.
“We have a little bit of a tougher road,” Dickson said. “Can we do it? Yes, we can do it. Do we have to play better, in a sense? Yes, we have to play better.”
Their confidence isn’t wavering. DiPiazza boasted that this Profs team has the best lineup and pitching staff in the country and the outfield is hard to top.
“We’ve got [Danny] Serreino throwing [next game] who’s one of the best pitchers in the country,” Dickson said.
This team has been waking up at six in the morning to run on the football field. They’re doing things that DiPiazza says no other teams in the country are doing.
It’s because of this confidence that they’re able to brush off that tough loss and come back even stronger.
Apart from football, all professional sports play a series-style playoff but baseball does it all regular season long.
In a series, there isn’t a team in the nation that Rowan Baseball doesn’t feel confident going toe-to-toe with. They feel like they could take a game from any team on any given day.
Spectators saw it when Serreino struck out 12 in seven innings against Division I Bradley University. DiPiazza said he was “chomping at the bit” to get a chance to pitch against them too.
And that mindset is what’s going to give this team every opportunity to accomplish whatever they want this year.
The Profs continue the NJAC tournament this Friday at noon against fifth seed William Paterson University in Union, NJ.
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