The baseball team came away from last weekend’s opening home stand with a 2-1 series victory against Niagara, recording an 11-10 victory on Saturday followed by a series-clinching 4-3 win on Sunday. The team was led by outfielder Bob Donato ’12, who received the Patriot League Baseball Player of the Week award for the second week in a row.
“It was good to win another weekend series, especially since we did it without our best play,” head coach Gene Depew said. “The cold weather and wind made for challenging playing conditions and we did not play our best defense in the first two games on Saturday.”
The Bison, who are 6-3 overall, earned the victory in game one on Saturday when they scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth to come back from an 8-0 deficit. They scored off two Niagara errors and a two-RBI hit by infielder Carter Bumgarder ’13. Pinch hitter Scott Glass ’13 tied the game in the fifth, and the Bison added two more runs in the sixth.
“Our team came back from 8-0 down in the first game,” Donato said. “That showed us a lot about ourselves. The hitters made adjustments and our pitchers were throwing better. Not many baseball teams can do that.”
Niagara scored two runs in the seventh to knot the score at 10-10, which forced extra innings. After two scoreless innings by pitcher Alex Cillio ’12, Donato won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a dramatic walk-off home run.
“I thought we did a good job of putting together a solid team effort,” said first baseman Russell Seidell ’12, who had three hits in game one. “We had guys stepping up in key situations and getting the job done. I really liked the way our team stayed positive and upbeat even when we were down, and that enabled us to battle back from an eight-run deficit in game one.”
“This weekend showed how we are a team that never quits,” pitcher Dan Weigel ’14 said. “To come back and win game one after being down really proved the resilience of our guys.”
After a 17-4 victory by Niagara on Saturday night, the Bison bounced back in game three behind Weigel, who pitched 8.1 innings while allowing only three runs on eight hits. Weigel has been the Bison’s most effective starter so far this year, leading regular pitchers in innings (22.2), wins (3) and ERA (2.38). Second baseman Travis Clark ’13 led the offense with two RBI, and extended his team-leading hitting streak to nine games.
“Timely hitting was very important in our first victory on Saturday and a great pitching performance by Dan Weigel led us to another victory [on Sunday],” Cillio said. “If we can win two out of three without playing our best baseball, we are going to be really tough to beat when we’re playing our best.”
Donato finished the series batting .462 and became the first Bison player to win back-to-back Patriot League Baseball Player of the Week awards since 2004. He currently leads the team in home runs (4), hits (19), runs (12)
and total bases (38).
The next stop for the Bison is in Florida, where the team will participate in the Russ Matt Invitational.
“We’re looking forward to playing seven games in seven days over spring break on our Florida trip,” Depew said.