Baseball splits in a double header to open season

By COURTNEY COLWELL | March 1, 2018

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM

The Johns Hopkins baseball team went 1-1 on Saturday to open the season. 

This past weekend, the Hopkins baseball team hosted the St. John Fisher Cardinals in a season-opening doubleheader. The Jays would finish the day with a 1-1 record, defeating St. John Fisher 7-1 in the first game before losing to the Cardinals 10-4 in the second. 

This result mirrored last year’s season opener: The Blue Jays split games with St. John Fisher to start off their 2017 season as well. 

After a scoreless first inning, the Jays took the first lead of the day in the second inning, following an RBI from sophomore second baseman Mike Eberle. St. John Fisher tied up the score with a run of their own in the fourth inning. 

However, the score would not stay tied for long. With senior catcher Alex Darwiche on third base, sophomore infielder Nathan Davis on second and sophomore infielder Dillon Bowman on first, senior center fielder Chris DiGiacomo stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit for fellow senior outfielder Colby Wilson. 

Because DiGiacomo took last season off to play at the IMG Sports Academy in Florida, this was his first at-bat for Hopkins in nearly two years. His triple brought three runners home to put the Jays up 4-1. An additional double from sophomore outfielder Chris Festa allowed the Jays to end the inning 5-1. 

DiGiacomo discussed his performance in his first collegiate game back.

“It felt awesome just being out there with my teammates again, and it was an even better feeling to be able to pick up my team in a big situation like that,” DiGiacomo said. “I was really excited to help us get the win.” 

The Jays would score twice more in the seventh inning, bringing the final score to 7-1. The pitching team of juniors Sean McCracken and Josh Hejka would combine for 10 strikeouts. Meanwhile, senior pitcher Nick Burns would close out the game in the ninth inning on three plays. 

The second game started a little more slowly. It would not be until the fifth inning that a runner from either team scored. St. John Fisher got on the board first with three runs. Their momentum would continue into the sixth inning as seniors Jack Vivinetto and Scott Eisenmenger each contributed two RBIs for the Cardinals. The Blue Jays entered the seventh inning trailing by seven. 

With Festa and junior outfielder Tim Kutcher on base, senior captain Zach Jaffe hit a home run, narrowing the Cardinals’ lead to four. 

Jaffe, who missed last year’s season because of a broken arm, discussed how it felt to be on the field again.

“The home run was pretty surreal, considering I missed my junior season,” he said.

Jaffe’s home run would not be enough to seal the Jays a victory. St. John Fisher would score an additional three runs in the following inning, bringing their lead back up to seven. 

With bases loaded in the eighth inning, DiGiacomo earned a walk to score the Jays another run. However, that would end the Blue Jays’ scoring for the day, as the second game ultimately ended in a 10-4 victory for St. John Fisher. 

Despite the loss, multiple Blue Jays had the opportunity to step onto the mound. Senior pitcher Alex Ross led the campaign by holding the Cardinals to zero runs for nearly five straight innings. Following Ross were juniors Harrison Folk and John Donohue and freshmen Jake Griffin and Brent Peterson. A series of juniors, including Jack Bunting, David Glass, and Séamus Ryan-Johnson, closed the day off for Hopkins.

The series between the Cardinals and the Jays now stands at 3-2 in favor of the Blue Jays. The team, however, was not discouraged by the 1-1 start to their season and is looking forward to future improvement. 

“We feel very confident about the season but know we have a lot to work on, especially defensively. St. John Fisher is a really good team, so we can’t be too upset with the doubleheader split,” Jaffe said. “We know that the potential for an incredible season is there.” 

The Blue Jays will return to Babb Field to host the Baltimore Invitational next weekend, playing successive games against Rutgers-Camden and Cortland State on Saturday and Sunday.

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