The night was Thursday, March 3 and as the majority of students at Rollins College were making final preparations for their spring break the baseball team was getting ready to play Saint Anslem College in a two-game set before the beginning of the 63rd annual Baseball Week.
The Tars entered the two game series with the Hawks of Saint Anslem with a 9-4 record looking to regain some momentum after dropping two out three to conference foe Florida Tech the weekend before. With the help of key hitting by third baseman Kevin Mager ‘12 and his one home run, five runs batted in the Tars did just that opening the weekend with an 8-4 victory.
Pitcher Garrett Yount ‘12 earned his fourth win of the season with six solid innings of pitching and Will Krasne ’11 came in a closed out the game with three shutout innings of relief to get his first save of the season.
The second game against St. Anslem went just as smoothly, as the Tars smoked the Hawks by a margin of 6-1. Catcher Sean Reilly ’12 was the big bat in this game, hitting his first home run of the season and notching three RBI. Pitcher Mike Howard ’12 was the big story of the game as he pitched an absolute gem, going seven innings giving up no runs and striking out 10 helpless Hawks.
After the two victories over St. Anslem, the Tars were ready to begin their 63-year tradition of Baseball Week at Harper- Shepherd Field, beginning Sunday, March 6. Rollins welcomed three Division 1 universities– Penn University, Georgetown University and the University of Maine–in what promised to be an exciting week of baseball. The first game proved to be a thriller but not in the way that the Tars hoped as the Maine Black Bears snatched the victory out of the Tars’ hands in the bottom of the ninth with a gamewinning RBI single hit by their shortstop Michael Fransoso.
After starting 0-1 in the tournament that they host, the Tars needed to gain a rebound victory against Georgetown, and with the help of outstanding hitting they were able to outlast the Hoyas with a final score of 10-8. Pitcher Matt White ’11 pitched two and two-thirds innings out of the bullpen, notching six strikeouts and his second save of the season. Utility player Max Pavy ‘11 led the Tars at the plate with a two for four performance and four RBI on his birthday, and Mager also notched three RBIs of his own.
With a win under their belt, the Tars won three out of their next four games during the week, earning a 4-2 record and a spot in the championship game on Saturday, March 12 against Maine. Unfortunately for the Tars, Maine was the better team that day and jumped out to an 8-1 lead by the sixth inning. Professional scouts were at the field to get a look at Maine pitcher Keith Bilodeau, who did not disappoint by pitching five solid innings and securing the win for the Black Bears of Maine. Maine would go on to win by a final tally of 10-4.
Although they came up a bit short in the championship, the Tars displayed an admirable showing against their Division 1 opponents. At the end of the week, White, Mager, shortstop Nick Adams ‘12, and first baseman Johnny Avanzino ’11 were all named to the Baseball Week All-Tournament Team for outstanding play at the plate, on the mound and in the field.
The Tars (15-7) now have little time to rest before four games this week against opponents traveling down from the frosty North. Last Tuesday, Rollins faced the Skyhawks of Stonehill and beat them 21-4, and today they will play the Columbia Lions and then a two game series over the weekend against UMASS-Dartmouth.