Men’s baseball season off to up-and-down start

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The baseball team recently opened its season in Auburndale, Florida where they hosted St. Olaf College in a doubleheader. After their first pair of games on the schedule against St. Scholastica were postponed, the Dutchmen split their two games against St. Olaf, winning 7-2 and losing 6-1.

After proceeding to drop back-to-back games against the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Farmingdale State College, Union closed out its spring training trip with three straight victories.

The Dutchmen started the run by sweeping a doubleheader with Fredonia 3-0 and 17-4, then followed with an 11-9 victory over Allegheny College.

“We have an extremely hard schedule out of the box,” said head coach Paul Mound back in February.

The Dutchmen then had a quick turnaround, opening up Liberty League play with a pair of doubleheaders against Skidmore College less than 48 hours after returning home.

Union had its three game winning streak snapped in the first matchup thanks to a walk-off single by Skidmore’s Daniel Dasgupta, giving the Thoroughbreds a 1-0 win. Union’s Jake Fishman ’17 threw six innings of shutout work in the loss.

Jake Fishman ’17 fires a pitch in the Dutchmen’s season-opening win against St. Olaf School. Fishman struck out 15 batters in six innings of work, earning his victory of the new season. (Courtesy of Union Athletics)
Jake Fishman ’17 fires a pitch in the Dutchmen’s season-opening win against St. Olaf School. Fishman struck out 15 batters in six innings of work, earning his victory of the new season. (Courtesy of Union Athletics)

Union followed its first conference loss by drubbing Skidmore 12-4 in the second game of the first doubleheader. Leading 4-2 in the bottom of the eight, Union’s Jamie Faber ’16 surrendered a pair of runs that knotted the game at four. The Dutchmen answered by exploding for eight runs in the top of the ninth. Faber returned to the mound for a scoreless bottom half to close out Union’s first league win of the season.

The Dutchmen followed the split by sweeping Skidmore in their second doubleheader the following day. Game one opened with each team tallying a run in the first, then proceeding to be shutout through the next five.

With the game still tied at one in the bottom of the seventh, Faber drove home Greg Dougherty ’19. Nick Williams ’18 earned his first win of the season, firing seven innings of one-run ball.

Union then turned to another sophomore starter, Jake Vesling ’18, who fired seven scoreless innings to start out game two of the second doubleheader. However, Skidmore freshman Will Potter was able to match Vesling with six and two-thirds shutout innings himself. The game remained without a run through the first nine innings, so the teams turned to extra innings to decide their final matchup.

After Eric Egan ’16 reached base in the bottom of the tenth inning on a fielder’s choice, the senior took advantage of a defensive misplay from the Skidmore reliever, who overthrew his first baseman on a pickoff attempt, allowing Egan to advance up to third base. Kent Curran ’16 proceeded drive home Egan on a walk-off single to give the Dutchmen the sweep.

Individuals from the team earned a heap of rewards in the first portion of the season. Fishman won Liberty League Pitcher of the Week after Union’s first week of play thanks to a dominant, 15-strikeout performance against St. Olaf.

The following week, Ryan Kuchar ’18 grabbed Liberty League Pitcher of the Week, while Wiley Knight ’19 earned Liberty League Rookie of the Week. Knight was recognized as the ECAC Player of the Week as well. Faber also made the Liberty League Weekly Honor Roll.

 

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