Hunting the Bison
After lasting only 2.2 innings and giving up three runs in the process on April 9, sophomore Joe Patton took the mound a week later against the Bucknell Bison at John B. Schuerholz Park.
The right-hander turned things around in Towson’s non-conference matchup, as he held the Bison scoreless through five innings and ultimately earned the win in Towson’s 4-2 win.
Patton only gave up two hits and two earned runs in five innings of work, while striking out four.
Patton said his fastball was what worked for him Wednesday.
“It was moving a lot and it was dropping a lot so I had hitters swinging over fastballs. I really didn’t need to use my off-speed pitches at all today,” he said.
The Tigers (17-15) got on the board early in Wednesday’s game.
Senior outfielder Dominic Fratantuono got things started for Towson with a single drove in senior outfielder/pitcher Brandon Gonnella to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Fratantuono’s single was his 200th hit in a Tiger uniform.
“During the at-bat I was just trying to get the run in and give us a lead,” Fratantuono said. “It’s a big relief though. It’s one of those things you try not to think about but in the back of your head, you know how many more hits you need to reach 200.”
In the next at-bat, junior first baseman/outfielder Peter Bowles hit a sacrifice fly to bring senior shortstop Pat Fitzgerald home.
After a scoreless second inning, senior outfielder Kurt Wertz, Jr. added to Towson’s 2-0 lead with a solo home run. He finished the game 2-for-4 with a runner-batted-in and a run scored.
Bucknell, however, broke through in the top of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Head Coach Mike Gottlieb pulled Patton for senior reliever Greg Baruka.
After getting the first out of the inning, Baruka walked right fielder Anthony Gingerelli, forcing in a Bison run. Baruka recorded another out before second baseman Alex O’Neill hit an RBI single to cut Towson’s lead to just one.
Fratantuono ended the inning on the same play as he gunned out designated hitter Corey Furman at home.
“I knew if I made a clean throw to [catcher Zach Fisher] we would get him at the plate and keep the lead,” Fratantuono said. “Greg did a great job of getting us out at that inning.”
The Tigers increased their lead back to two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning when freshman third baseman Brady Policelli hit an RBI double down the left field line that drove in Fratantuono.
From there, sophomore reliever and Gonnella pitched shutout innings to preserve Towson’s 4-2 win.
“Momentum-wise, today was very good,” Patton said. “Even though we only scored four runs, we had 12 hits which means our bats should be hot going into the weekend. We played solid in the field and looked sharp. We should definitely be going into the weekend with our heads up and looking to win the series.”
Towson will now head back to the road to continue Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend.
The Tigers will travel to Wilmington, N.C. to play the UNC Wilmington Seahawks. The Seahawks sit two spots ahead of the Tigers in the standings with a 3-5 conference record. Towson is just 1-5 in CAA play.
Junior Corey Dick leads the surge offensively for UNC Wilmington (17-18 overall). The infielder has a team-high .333 batting average. He also has a team-high 44 hits and 28 RBIs.
On the mound, senior left-hander Mat Batts and sophomore right-hander Nick Monroe lead the way. Batts has started all nine games that he has appeared in, holding a 3.39 earned run allowed average and a 2-2 record, while Monroe has started six-of-nine games. He holds a 4.30 ERA and has pitched one complete game this season.
In order to get back on track in conference play, Fratantuono believes the team can use Wednesday’s win as a starting block.
“Just use today as a turning point for our season and use today as a turning point for our season and use today’s win as momentum for Wilmington,” he said.
The weekend series will start Friday at 6 p.m.