It’s been a rough stretch of games for the Montclair State University Red Hawks baseball team as of late. After getting off to a decent 10-8 start to the season, the Red Hawks have now lost their last six games.
The most recent loss was at home, as the Red Hawks lost a close game to the Drew University Rangers at Yogi Berra Stadium this past Wednesday by a final score of 7-5.
Jared Holowaty, head coach of the Red Hawks baseball team, talked about how difficult it is to lose those close games.
“It’s real difficult, especially when you’re not doing the things you want to do,” Holowaty said. “When you play well and you lose, that’s one thing. But when you don’t play and you lose, it’s very frustrating.”
The game began with both teams failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Drew University got the top of the first inning going with a leadoff double by Max Felsenstein, then a single from Zach Lipshitz to give the Rangers first and third with only one out.
However, a strikeout from Red Hawks junior starting pitcher Sean Lewandoski and a fielder’s choice got Montclair State out of the inning. Junior second baseman Joe Norton got the bottom of the first started with a leadoff single, then freshman designated hitter Daniel Clemente walked to give Montclair State first and second base with no outs. However, three straight fly ball outs ended the inning.
Drew University’s offense would explode in the top of the second, as two walks, a fielder’s choice and a stolen base would give them second and third base with one out. One run would then score on an error and the runners would advance on a sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat.
Now with two outs in the inning, Cole Bosh would then deliver the big blow of the inning, a double to drive in the two runs. Bosh would then score from second on a single by Lipshitz, and the Rangers would take a 4-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning.
Montclair State would end up mounting a comeback in the next two innings. With two outs in the bottom of the second, freshman third baseman Jason Moore and freshman center fielder Kyle Forcini would draw back-to-back walks to bring up Norton. Norton would hit a big triple to drive in both runs, and then score from third on a wild pitch.
“It feels good obviously to hit the ball alright,” Norton said, who went 2-5 with two RBIs in the game. “But you’re always looking to win. So that’s kind of the downside.”
The Red Hawks would end up taking the lead in the bottom of the third when freshman right fielder Christopher Walker and sophomore catcher Andrew Ollwerther got on base with back-to-back singles. Junior shortstop Hayden Reyes would end up giving the Red Hawks the lead with two RBI doubles.
However, the Rangers would end up getting the run back when Brett Lincoln hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 5-5.
With the score tied, all the fans in the stands at Yogi Berra Stadium couldn’t wait to see how the rest of the game would unfold. Mother Nature had other ideas as it began to rain on the field.
Eventually lightning was seen, thunder was heard and the game was sent into a rain delay. Luckily, the delay lasted for about a half an hour before the storm cleared and play was resumed.
Drew University would end up taking the lead for good in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, Bosh reached on a throwing error and Lipshitz was intentionally walked to bring the left-handed hitting Matthew Lange to the plate.
The Red Hawks ended up shifting to the right on Lange, putting a decent gap between the center fielder Forcini and left fielder Brad Edwards.
Lange ended up hitting a fly ball that split the two outfielders and got down for what would end up being the game-winning two-run RBI triple.
“It’s just pitch execution,” Holowaty said in regards to the play. “We had him pull, ball was left outside, so he hit it the other way. So it’s just execution of pitches and again, we just didn’t do a good job executing all day in all facets.”