Until warmer weather befalls Poughkeepsie, and the Marist College campus, the Marist Red Foxes will have to continue to travel to less temperamental, more consistent climates, just like they have been doing since their baseball season opened on February 19th. The baseball team has spent much of their past three weekends traveling, splitting its time between Davidson and High Point, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. The team doesn’t have much to come home proud with, however, as it returned from Richmond on Monday with a less-than-desirable 2-7 overall record on the season thus far.
Although the Red Foxes only left the Davidson tournament with one win, they saw the potential in their freshman class come to fruition. In the season opener against Davidson, a 4-3 loss, freshman Jack Shirk went 1-for-2 with a home run, which was the first hit of his career. The box score failed to display Marist’s effort, though. The team kept it close with the game on the line in the top of the ninth inning. Down by one run, Graham McIntire drew a walk, Joey Aiola laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving McIntire to second, and a wild pitch let McIntire advance to third, putting him in scoring position. The comeback bid fell short, as two consecutive fly balls ended the game.
The next day, in a game against the Air Force Academy that did not have the same competitiveness and grit as the opener and ended in an 8-4 loss for Marist, the spotlight belonged to the team’s rookies. Shirk had a strong outing at the plate again, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and three assists. Anthony Lazar pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth, picking up a single, and Tyler Kapuscinski earned the first RBI of his career on a fielder’s choice grounder. Marist only managed 3 hits in that game, all of which came from freshmen.
Marist was able to close out the tournament with an 8-3 win against Buffalo, with a lot of help from its first-year players. Kapuscinski put together a 3-for-5 performance that included two RBIs. Shirk added to the freshman attack with two hits and four RBIs of his own, on four appearances at the plate. Kevin Stewart took the mound for his first start of the season, giving up three hits, one run, and striking out five in five innings.
The following two weekends saw less positive output from the freshmen and more negative output from the pitching staff. In the series against High Point University, which Marist lost two games to one, the Red Foxes gave up a total of 40 hits and 19 runs, while only producing 26 and 17 of their own. Frankie Gregoire was the sole star for Marist that weekend. The freshman went 4-for-10, bringing in two runs and scoring three of his own.
Most recently, and most painful for the Red Foxes, was their trip down to Virginia Commonwealth University. On their way to getting swept three games to none, the Marist pitching staff again proved to be the team’s own undoing, letting VCU hit off them 32 times and score 13 times. Marist’s bats weren’t enough to compensate for the weak performances on the mound, collecting just 21 hits and 9 runs, numbers that pale in comparison to those of the heavy-hitting Rams.
The away game heartbreak reached its peak this past Sunday, when the team lost 7-6 in the 13th inning after taking a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth. Sophomore Mike Coss took the mound and gave the game to VCU, hitting consecutive batters and setting Jimmy Kerrigan up to steal third and home on a throwing error by the catcher.
Marist can only hope that their road woes will end soon, as they still have to play two more series before seeing home action for the first time on March 22nd against St. John’s. It could very well be that the team’s kryptonite this year is playing on the road. If that is the case, they will need their homestands to make up for it.
The Red Foxes visit Delaware State in Dover for a three game series from the 11th to the 13th. Games are scheduled to start at 2 PM, 1 PM, and noon.