Rowan Baseball Loses First Home Game in a Split Doubleheader With Ramapo

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Jason O'Neill throwing a pitch in a game earlier this season. O'Neill would be the starting pitcher for the Profs in the first game against Rampo in which they picked up the victory. Sunday, April 10, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

The Rowan baseball team squared off against the Ramapo College Roadrunners in a matinee doubleheader on Saturday, April 16.

The first game saw Rowan win 3-2 in a tightly contested ballgame. However, the second leg ended in a 14-7 offensive domination in favor of the Roadrunners. 

The opening contest was highlighted by two strong-pitching outings by Rowan’s Jason O’Neill and Ramapo’s James Garthaffner.

O’Neill allowed just two runs and struck out six in his 7 2/3 innings of work. Garthhaffner, who held Rowan to five hitless innings before being retired in the seventh, allowed a single run and struck out nine. 

“There’s nothing better than that,” O’Neill said. “Me and that kid had a pitcher’s duel going for most of the game. You want to pitch in games like that. They’re the most fun games to pitch in, most competitive.” 

The first run of the game was scored by Rowan’s catcher Hunter Wroniak off a single from second baseman Tyler Cannon in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was a welcomed sight for the Profs who had left three runners on base in the innings leading up to Cannon’s RBI. 

It wasn’t until the top of the eighth that the Roadrunners made an impact on the scoreboard when third baseman Brian Baranok hit a two-run homer, taking the lead 2-1.

Rowan, in the bottom of the eighth, strung together a blend of walks, singles, and a double to score two and jump ahead 3-2. Left fielder Ryan Mostrangeli hit the game-tying RBI single that scored pinch-runner Chris Serrano.

Shortstop Chris Curcio, the fourth batter of the inning, provided the final spark of offense with an RBI single that brought Mostrangeli home. 

In the top of the ninth, Rowan relief pitcher Christian Bascunan came in and allowed just one hit before earning the save, closing the book on the day’s opener and extending the Prof’s win streak to six. 

Game two was a complete switch from the opener as it was more offensive-heavy for both teams. The matchup featured 28 combined hits, 21 combined runs, and nine appearing pitchers. 

Ramapo catcher Sean Donaghue set the tone in the top of the first inning when he clobbered a pitch from the Profs’ Donald Zellman for a grand slam to establish a lead the Roadrunners would never relinquish. 

The Roadrunners, off of the back of four additional homers, were up 13-1 after six innings. In that same amount of time, five different Prof pitchers had taken the mound. The pitching, according to Rowan Head Coach Mike Dickson, needed to perform better. 

“We had 11 or 12 freebies, but you’re down 5-0 in the second, so really the difference in the second game is pitching,” Coach Dickson said. “Game two was not, obviously, who we want to be as a club…. [We] gotta find a way to be able to play better in game two.” 

The Profs’ offense in their last three at-bats was able to convert some hits to runs to put the game within seven, but the deficit was too much to overcome as they fell to the Roadrunners.

Coach Dickson reflected on the game and its silver lining.

“Some of the younger guys did a good job [on offense],” Coach Dickson said. “Overall, we need to be better.”

Rowan, now 21-6, suffered their first home defeat of the season with the loss. With just over two weeks until the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament, this loss may serve as a defining wake-up call as they head towards the homestretch.

They will now host two back-to-back home games on Tuesday, April 19, and Wednesday, April 20.

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