The baseball team split its second doubleheader of the weekend with St. John Fisher on Sunday afternoon, winning the first game 3-2 and dropping the second 2-1.
The Bombers collected their second walk-off win of the weekend in the first game. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Christian Brown hit a ground ball that the St. John Fisher third basemen overthrew, allowing sophomore Matt Connolly to score.
Mirroring Saturday’s doubleheader, both games on Sunday were pitcher’s duels, and the Blue and Gold relied heavily on their starting pitching to contain the Cardinal offense. Sophomore John Prendergast started the first game for the Bombers, and allowed just two St. John Fisher runs on seven hits.
Prendergast’s stellar performance turned out to be crucial for Ithaca, who was facing Cardinal ace Justin D’Amato. Last season, D’Amato pitched a complete game shutout against the Bombers to contribute to his 11–0 record on the season.
The Bombers strung together three runs on seven hits against D’Amato, handing him his first loss since 2011. Ithaca College Hitting Coach Frank Fazio said facing such a strong pitcher bolstered the offense’s confidence.
“He’s an excellent pitcher,” Fazio said. “He’s very smart and he throws the ball well. But we tell the team that that’s the kind of pitcher we want to be facing. We want to face someone that’s good, and beat him.”
Though the Bombers defeated one of the best pitchers in the league, the offense faltered in the second game, with only two hits against St. John Fisher’s Mike Rynerson. Rynerson shut down the Bomber batters despite four Cardinal fielding errors.
Head Coach George Valesente said though the Bombers only had two hits, the team showed its resilience because it still had a chance to win late in the game. Down by a run in extra innings, the Blue and Gold had two baserunners, but could not score.
“In the second game, we couldn’t get anything rolling,” Valesente said. “Their pitcher was pitching very well and we didn’t have a lot of opportunities.”
A positive came out of the loss for the Bombers in the form of senior Jasper Adams. Adams, who gave up four runs in just 1/3 of an inning in his last appearance, looked shaky again in the first inning. After giving up two hits to the first two batters he faced, Valesente visited the mound and talked with his starter.
“He came out and told me that I was a little tense and tried to lighten the mood,” Adams said. “He told me to just go out and do what I do because I think I was in my own head a little bit.”
The talk worked for Adams, who pitched his way out of the rest of the inning. He went on to pitch what he called his “best outing of the season,” allowing just one run on nine hits in seven innings of work.
Valesente said though the team is disappointed with the loss, taking three out of four games from the Cardinals is a difficult feat.
“They were all great games. Any of the games could have gone either way,” Valesente said. “We were able to get a couple of breaks in the earlier games and make some stuff happen. [The fourth game] we could have won but we just couldn’t quite get anything going.”