Sharks on verge of most wins ever
Postseason-bound LIU baseball shoots for No. 32 vs. Siena
Long Island University baseball coach Dan Pirollo isn’t waving goodbye to his 13 seniors just yet.
At least not until they help the Sharks break the program-record for the most victories in a single season, and vie for the Northeast Conference title.
“A lot of the seniors came back. They saw the vision of this program,” said Pirillo after his postseason-bound squad topped NEC rival Fairleigh Dickinson, 5-1, Sunday for its record-tying 31st win.
“They saw what this program can be this year. My hat goes off to every senior who came back and played for us,” added Pirillo.
Having tied the previous record for victories, established in 2018, the Sharks (31-17, 16-8 NEC) were looking to make it 32 wins Tuesday afternoon at Siena in Schenectady, N.Y.
If that fails, Pirillo’s relentless unit will have a three-game series at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland beginning Thursday.
But No. 31 was extra special as the senior-laden roster played its final home game in Brookville.
Fourth-year standout Ryan Neuweiler (4-1) picked up the win after yielding two runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings. Nick DeSalvo worked the next 2 2/3 frames before Josh Gainer tossed a scorless ninth for his sixth save.
Giovanni Ciaccio and Carlton Harper homered in the third inning and Christopher Hund also drove in a run for the Sharks, who are currently atop the NEC standings.
The league’s annual postseason tournament will begin May 26 in Norwich, Connecticut.
“I stepped in there and he gave me two balls, so I was ahead in the count,” Ciaccio said of the at-bat that produced his tiebreaking three-run homer.
“I took a deep breath. And I heard from the dugout, my coaches were telling me, ‘Stay through. Stay through. Stay through.’ That was just sitting in the back of my head. And he gave me a pitch in the middle-in, and I just stayed through and barreled it up.”
The Senior Day ceremony honored Colin Adams, Ciaccio, Victor DeNicola, DeSalvo, Michael Edelman, Gainer, Kurt Lange, Joshua Loeschorn, Ryan Mullahey, Neuweiler, Luke Turner, Jalen Wade and Christopher Wasson.
“The emotions were so high today,” Ciaccio added. “It was awesome. Today was really special. All of these older guys, this is the last day they get to come out and play on this field.”
Over at St. Francis Brooklyn, the Terriers’ track and field teams grabbed three medals and four top-10 finishes over the weekend at the ICFA/ECAC Championships in Willliamsburg, Virginia, the final event of the 2022 outdoor campaign.
The men’s team totaled 13 points in the IC4A Championships, finishing 22nd overall out of 36 teams.
Malachi Allen just missed a medal in the triple-jump final, grabbing fourth place with a leap of 14.97 meters. Jordan Moorer (13.81 meters), Xavier Wright (13.71), and Kayshaw Saravia (12.97) also participated in the event.
In the remaining field event the Terriers qualified for, Damilare Oyetibo placed tenth in the discus final with a fling of 47.40 meters.
The men’s 4×400 relay team of Terell Howard, Brian Strachn, Daniel Hernandez and Makhi finished fourth after crossing the line in 3:15.85.
Strachn (21.58) earned a solo medal after placing sixth in the 200-meter dash final.
Armani Dunkley earned SFC points in the 200-meter final for the first time since 2015 with a time of 25.57.
Brooklyn College sophomore Stella Witkowski and freshman Danielle Guzzardi were named to the CUNYAC All-Stars last week, with Guzzardio also receiving a spot on the league’s All-Sportsmanship team.
Witkowski, a utility player, led the Bulldogs with a .403 average, two homers, three triples and four doubles,
She also finished the year, which saw BC reach the CUNYAC Tournament play-in game, ranked second in the conference in stolen bases and third in walks.
Witkowski was just as effective defensively, finishing second in the conference in putouts with a .963 fielding percentage while playing several positions in the infield and outfield.
Guzzardi, the Bulldogs’ staff ace, led the conference in innings pitched with 142.
She also led the CUNYAC in strikeouts with 155, pitching a no-hitter on April 5 with a 12-0 shutout of Yeshiva.
Offensively, Guzzardi finished second on the team with a .323 batting average and ranked second in the league with 18 walks.
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