Despite warm weather, cold start for Pioneers


James McClendon, Assistant News Editor

The Utica College baseball team spent a week in Auburndale, Florida for spring training. The Pioneers were unable to claim a victory in their eight games, as they came back to Utica winless.

In their first matchup, the Pioneers faced Calvin College and lost 9-1. Utica’s lone run was scored by shortstop Kolbie Glionna in the third inning. The Pioneers had six hits and two errors.

Pitcher Josh Webb got the start for the Pioneers and was relieved by James Corcoran after five innings.

Later in the day, the Pioneers played Calvin College again and lost 8-2. Outfielder JT Ross and infielder Matthew DeMartino were responsible for the two runs in the fourth inning.

The Pioneers started pitcher Vincent Burillo and Jarred Luczak relieved him after six innings.

The Pioneers’ next double-header was against Bowdoin College. UC kept it close in the early game, only losing 5-3. The Pioneers finished with seven hits and two errors.

The late game was a little more one-sided as the Pioneers fell to the Polar Bears 8-1. Jake Ryan scored in the first inning after designated hitter Brandon Thomas hit a double into center field.

Pitcher William Wingsman went five innings and was relieved by Gavin McCann.

UC’s next matchup was against the University of Minnesota Morris. The Pioneers fell to the Cougars 14-2.

UC was shut out for the first seven innings. The Pioneers tried to rally back as Ross scored on a Burillo single in the eighth and Ryan scored on a center field fly out by Ross in the ninth. The Pioneers ended the game with nine hits.

The start went to pitcher Ed Zakrzewski, who pitched the first five innings. McCann, Luczak and Dom Caccioppoli all saw time in the last two innings.

UC went into its Thursday doubleheader with McDaniel College hoping to end its early season losing streak.

The Pioneers were shut out 4-0 in the early game with the Green Terror. UC finished the game with five hits and three costly errors.

Pitcher Alex Rocci had seven strikeouts, one walk and only gave up one earned run.

The Pioneers made things a lot more interesting in the late game. With the game tied at six heading into the seventh, the Green Terror hit a walk-off single to win the game 7-6.

Ross scored off of a Demartino double to left field in the first. The Pioneers scored two more times off of second baseman Adam Pexton’s single to center field in the second inning. Shortstop Richard Beverly scored the Pioneers’ last run of the day in the fifth after a Green Terror error.

Luczak pitched the first 3.2 innings and was relieved by McCann.

UC’s last game of its spring break trip was against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The Pioneers fell 6-4.

The Pioneers started out hot with a Ryan score off a Ross single in the first. UC added on two more runs, scoring in the third and fourth innings. The Trailblazers fought back and rattled off six straight runs to head into the eighth with a 6-3 lead. The Pioneers scored one final run in the eighth but it was not enough to complete the comeback.

The Pioneers split the pitching duties between Wingsman and Caccioppoli, with each pitching three innings.

Assistant coach Christopher Podlucky was unhappy with the results but saw how hard the team worked.

“Losing eight games is tough,” Podlucky said. “But it was good to see that the guys didn’t give up.”

Pitcher Joshua Webb felt that with a few small tweaks the team can get right back on track.

“The team just needs to tighten up on defense and string together some hits on offense,” Webb said. “Once that is all set we should be competing every game.”

The Pioneers are hoping to recover from their slow start.

“To get ready for our first conference trip to Houghton we will be working on timely hitting in order to score some more runs for our pitchers, and making plays in the field,” Ryan said.

The Pioneers jump right into league play as they travel to Houghton College Friday for a 3 p.m. game.

Featured Image; Junior JT Ross leads the Pioneers with a .393 batting average after the team’s trip to Florida over Spring Break. Photo by Jeff Pexton.