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Fordham Wins Critical Conference Series Versus La Salle

Rams Miss Out on Sweep With Heartbreaking Loss in Rubber Match of Series

SPORTS EDITOR

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 02:04

Courtesy of Michael Rezin/The Ram

Mike Mauri was named Atlantic 10 Player of the week for his efforts in the La Salle Series, collecting seven hits.


 

The Fordham baseball team picked up two wins this weekend in a three-game series against the La Salle Explorers, improving its conference record to 9-6. The Rams missed out on the series sweep, however, dropping the rubber match 2-1 in 11 innings, despite  many chances to win the game. The conference series avoided the downpour on Sunday by rescheduling to a doubleheader on Saturday, with the first game starting at noon.

“That didn’t really affect us at all,” junior relief pitcher Jeremy Adel said. “We could have gone out there and played five games.”

The Friday night game was played in its originally scheduled time slot. Senior pitcher Daniel Munday delivered a performance that would have been appreciated regardless of when the game was played. The right hander shut down the Explorers, pitching a complete game five-hitter as the Rams picked up the shutout victory, 5-0. Munday struck out nine batters and had a no-hitter going until the fifth inning.

Senior designated hitter Brian Kownacki sparked the offense and become just the 12th Ram in over 150 years to collect 200 hits in a Fordham uniform. The milestone hit came in the first inning when Kownacki ripped a double down the right field line, scoring junior first baseman Mike Mauri and increasing the Rams’ lead to 2-0.

Friday was also the first time this season that the Rams modeled their camouflage uniforms, as a visible sign of the team’s participation in the Wounded Warrior Project.

“The cause is absolutely phenominal,” Adel said. “Anytime we can give something back to soldiers who fight for us everday is just an honor.”

Several Rams also expressed a liking for the way the jerseys looked. Full views of the specially-made jerseys can be found on fordhamsports.com.

 Mauri knocked in two runs for Fordham in Game 1, going 2-for-4.

For his efforts, Munday was named the Pitcher of the Week by the Atlantic 10. His award is even more impressive given the performance that junior Joe Charest turned in against La Salle in a Game  2 victory for the Rams. Charest  limited La Salle to just one run despite giving up nine hits, while striking out nine in the 3-1 victory. It was the third complete game of the season for Charest, as he improved to 4-6 this year.

The Fordham bats were stifled a bit by the La Salle pitching, collecting just six hits on La Salle senior starter Ryan Donahue, who pitches sidearm. 

“It throws you for a little bit of a loop,” sophomore catcher Ryan Phelan said. “His sliders go one way and the change-ups go the other so you just need to adjust.”

The three runs were more than enough, as Mauri, senior left fielder Stephen McSherry and Kownacki led the way. Mauri had two hits for the Rams, while also scoring a run on a wild pitch. On the week, Mauri collected 10 hits in 17 at-bats while earning a perfect fielding percentage in his first week as a full-time first baseman. Mauri was named A-10 Baseball Player of the Week, and leads Fordham with a .336 batting average.

The final game of the series saw more of the same trends from the earlier games, and runs were even harder to come by. The Rams could muster only one run against the La Salle pitching staff, falling 2-1.

Sophomore pitcher Chris Pike was scratched from the weekend series, bumping Charest up to start in Game 2. Pike had injured his back in his last start against the Dayton Flyers and was unable to warm up without pain on Saturday.

Pike will most likely miss this week’s series against Xavier, according to Phalen.

Fordham turned to sophomore John Porter on the mound, getting the emergency start for the final game of the series. Porter went three innings for the Rams, holding the Explorers at bay.

It was a busy game for the bullpen, which used four different relievers. Junior pitcher Rich Anastassi was the first to get the call, going three innings to hold La Salle scoreless through six. Graduate student Zach Small was then brought on, but he surrendered the tying run during his only inning of work.

Adel was forced to work a season-high four innings for the second week in a row, turning in a brilliant outing by only allowing three hits after being brought in the 11th.

“I had no problem with working outing again,” Adel said. “Anytime I can help, I will pitch until the coach pulls me out.”

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