Countdown to baseball season is reached

Haleigh Giebel, Staff writer

The Mercyhurst baseball team opened the season by defeating non-conference team Stillman College, three out of four games on Saturday, Jan. 30, and Sunday, Jan. 31, in Emerson, Georgia.
The team has 13 returning seniors for this season and is ranked No.1 in the PSAC West Division preseason poll.
“We have many key players returning and some new freshman and transfers that will contribute as well. We have a great core of seniors who are excellent leaders and role models for our team,” said Head Coach Joseph Spano.
“Our offense is dynamic and we have a good combination of speed and power that will hopefully find a way to score runs and give our pitchers the runs support they need.”
In game one on Saturday, senior Dan Popio hit a two-run single and gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Stillman came back with a three-run sixth inning and added another run in the seventh to take game one 4-2.
During game two, senior Hank Morrison brought in Popio in the first inning and junior Cameron Balego hit in junior Chris Gonzalez to give the Lakers their first win of the season, 2-0.
In game one on Sunday, the Lakers defeated Stillman 8-3.
During the first inning, junior Sabatino DiNardo gave the Lakers an early 2-0 lead on a two-run single.
Stillman scored two runs in the second inning to tie the game, but the Lakers powered through with a five run fourth inning.
During the fourth inning, Gonzalez had the only hit, but the Lakers benefited from Stillman’s errors, with two runs. They also had three walks, a run-scoring wild pitch, a run-scoring balk and sophomore Collin Fantaskey stole home.
The Lakers got another run in the fifth inning, and Stillman got one in the seventh to end the game at 8-3, Lakers.
During game two on Sunday, the Lakers fall behind in the fourth and fifth innings, going into the sixth inning down 4-2.
The Lakers exploded in the sixth inning with seven runs to give them a 9-4 lead over Stillman and take the season opening weekend, with three wins and one loss.
“I hope that we continue to improve, for a northern team, it was probably too early to play baseball,” said Spano. “It certainly wasn’t ideal, we looked very rusty, but I was very proud of how the guys were able to find a way to win a series against a southern college that has been able to practice outside all winter.”
Next, the team will travel to Peterburg, Va., over the weekend of Feb. 19 to play three more exhibition games before regular season play starts in March. Spano is one win away from having 500 career wins.