The Ithaca College baseball team lost to the Hobart College Statesmen 9–6 on Senior Day April 28 on the Valesente Diamond at Freeman Field.
The Bombers were led by senior catcher Gil Merod who went 2 for 3 at the plate, including a moonshot of a home run. Junior third baseman Ethan Rothstein added on a three-run home run while senior pitcher Garrett Bell pitched five innings, tossing six strikeouts and allowing only one run.
The game began fairly well for the Bombers as Bell rung up two batters in a row after hitting a batter and walking another to start the top of the first. Bell forced a grounder to get out of the inning and the Bombers got up to the plate.
Sophomore designated hitter Collin Feeney opened up the inning with a grounder that made its way through the gap in first and second for a single. After another single from junior left fielder Louis Fabbo, senior first baseman Matt Fabian hit a sacrifice grounder that allowed Feeney to come in to score and make it 1–0 in favor of the Bombers.
After uneventful second, third and fourth innings — the Bombers only had one hit and the Statesmen couldn’t get a man across the plate — the Statesmen finally reached the scoring column in the fifth.
Statesmen junior outfielder Joe McCoy began the inning with a grounder to third that was fielded, but the throw to first wasn’t on time. After being hit by a pitch, another Statesman was on base and first-year right fielder Will Jones took advantage, hitting a single through the gap between first and second to load the bases. Unfortunately for the Bombers, Bell had a wild pitch go to the backstop and McCoy came in for a run, leaving the score tied up.
With only one out left in the top of the fifth, the Bombers began to retaliate. The Statesmen found themselves caught in a pickle at third when Merod noticed the runner sagging off the bag. Merod fired the ball to Rothstein, who chased down the runner to take the scoring threat away. The Bombers got out of the top of the inning tied.
After he had a heads-up play on the defensive side of the plate, Merod decided to bring that type of impact play to the offensive side of the game. Merod took a pitch and mashed it over the left field fence for a home run to retake the lead for the Bombers. The Bombers entered the sixth up 2–1.
The tides began to turn in the favor of the Statesmen in the sixth. The Bombers opted to remove Bell from the game and gave the mound to senior pitcher Erislandy Rives. Rives opened the inning giving up a double to deep left and walked a man. After Rives secured a flyout to second, first-year second baseman Christian Petry hit a liner into left-center, with neither outfielder able to stop the ball. Both players on base came into score and Petry reached third for a triple.
Two more walks and a pitching change to senior pitcher Matt Chase followed and the bases were once again loaded. A grounder to first looked like it would be the second out of the inning, but Fabian threw the ball home and Merod could not maintain his position on the plate, causing everyone in the play to remain safe and for another run to come in. Another walk followed, making the score 5–2.
The nightmare inning didn’t end there. Chase struck out a batter, but the next two batters both lined a single into left field, each bringing in a run to make it 8–2. First-year pitcher Landon White was brought in and finally ended the inning with a flyout to left.
The top of ninth brought another run for the Statesmen with first-year outfielder Nate Garrett leading off the inning by hitting a home run to left field to make it 9–2.
Once the Bombers got to the bottom of the ninth, they didn’t lay down and die, instead they fought back. Senior center fielder Mike Nauta opened the inning by showing off his wheels and beating a throw to first after he hit a grounder to the first baseman. After a flyout, Merod walked and set up Rothstein to capitalize. Rothstein sent a three-run homer into left and was followed by first-year outfielder Matt Curtis who sent his own ball over the left field fence. This rally was close, but the Bombers ran out of outs and the game ended in a 9–6 loss.
As he reflected on his Senior Day, Merod said his time with the team has taught him valuable lessons on and off the field.
“All of my experiences [have] grown me as a human being and a man,” Merod said. “Learning how to deal with those who bully you, those that bring you up, and how to deal with different emotions and different people. It’s so nice.”
The Bombers will next host the SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles at 4 p.m. May 2 on the Valesente Diamond at Freeman Field.