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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Offense shines as baseball splits series with High Point

Senior infielder Seif Ingram throws across the diamond during the second game of Saturday’s double-header. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

This past weekend, the baseball team (3-9 overall, 0-0 Patriot League) won two games and lost just as many in a four-game series against the High Point University Panthers. 

The Leopards leaped to an early lead in the first game of the series last Friday. Sophomore outfielder Easton Brenner led off the top of the third with a double down the left-field line. Senior Seif Ingram then launched a two-run home run – his second of the season – into the stands in left field.  

The Panthers put points on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo home run over the right field fence, trimming Lafayette’s lead to 2-1.

In the sixth inning, Lafayette added another run as freshman catcher Ethan Swidler walked to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a throwing error by the Panther’s catcher and then came around to score on another error by the catcher, bringing the Leopards’ lead to 3-1.

In the ninth, junior infielder Blaze Fadio singled, and senior outfielder Pete Ciuffreda drew a walk, bringing Swidler to the plate. Swidler lined a two-run RBI double off the wall in center field, giving the Leopards a 5-2 lead to seal the game. 

Freshman Pat Walega started the game on the mound for the Leopards and picked up his first collegiate win, pitching 5.0 innings, striking out three and only surrendering one run. Freshman James Reese closed the game out in the ninth, retiring the side in order, including striking out two in his first collegiate save. Reese earned a Patriot League Baseball Rookie of the Week honor for his efforts.

“Offensively, the guys stuck to the plan, and big hits from Ingram and Swidler ultimately led us to victory,” head coach A.J. Miller said. “Overall, total team effort and it’s fun to watch these guys play at the high level they showed [this weekend].”

In the second game of the series – the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader – the Maroon and White struggled on the mound, losing 13-10. 

In the second game of the doubleheader, Lafayette struck first again, scoring two runs on an RBI single by junior outfielder Justin Grech in the top of the second.

High Point answered with four runs of its own in the bottom of the second. The Panthers kept scoring as the Leopards found themselves down 9-2. A home run in the fifth from Ciuffreda – his fourth on the year – sparked a scoring streak for the Leopards.

In the sixth, Grech belted a two-run home run into the stands.

Lafayette’s home run marathon continued in the seventh, with a three-run home run by sophomore infielder Michael Zarrillo, and a two-run shot by junior catcher Michael Mallas, which gave the Leopards a 10-9 lead.

High Point scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh. Neither team could muster any other offense and the game advanced to extra innings. Ciuffreda then smashed his second home run of the game – his fifth of the season – to give the Leopards the lead in the tenth, 11-10.

In the bottom of the frame, freshman James Reese came in and closed out Lafayette’s come-from-behind 11-10 victory over the Panthers, recording a strikeout and picking up his first collegiate win. 

“I think it just comes down to being competitive and competing,” Ciuffreda said. “When there are four games on the weekend, you’re gonna ask a lot from a lot of guys like, right? I feel like as a group, we’ll continue to get better and learn how to play together.”

Sunday’s game, the last of the series, saw the Maroon and White get demolished 15-3. 

“We’ll definitely be working on some things that we struggled with this weekend,” Ciufredda said. “We really want to play hard for our coaching staff, since they really help us out a lot.”

Ciuffreda said the underclassmen will be key for the success of the team going forward.

“We knew we have a young team, and there’s gonna be some growing pains and some holes on the team that could get filled by younger guys. A lot of guys have stepped up in that way, but going forward, we’re still looking for a couple more guys to step up,” he said.

The Maroon and White will return this weekend when they travel to Stony Brook, New York to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves for a three-game series.

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Luke Gutleber
Luke Gutleber, Staff Sports Writer

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