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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Pitching fails Gaels in early season set

Photo courtesy of Ionagaels.com. Lorenzetti’s seven strikeouts topped his career-high mark of five.

The Iona University baseball team began their 2024 season with a three-game series against Western Carolina University from Feb. 16-18. 

Starting their new season a day earlier than they did last year, the Gaels looked primed from the start, opening the game with three straight walks to load the bases. Graduate student Garret Gray then stepped up to the plate and laced a two-run double. A hit by pitch pointed towards more runs, but a double play ended the Gaels’ threat. 

Western Carolina responded immediately with a three-run bottom of the first inning, followed by an insurance run in the second.  

While Jayson Gonzalez hit the first Iona home run of the year with a solo shot in the third inning, Western Carolina was relentless at the plate and scored four out of the game’s final five runs, securing them an 8-5 victory.  

Game 2 of the set was another win for the Catamounts, this time in dominating 16-3 fashion.  

Once again, the Gaels cruised to an early 3-0 lead, as Josiah Ragsdale launched a two-run homer and Anthony Febo followed it up with a solo shot of his own moments later.  

Junior Carl Kuentzel struck out two batters in his 2 1/3 innings of work before five Gael pitchers wrapped up the rest of the outing. The Catamounts were all over Iona’s arms, producing a five-run third inning and additional runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to cap off the day.  

Sophomore Michael Lorenzetti headed to the bump in the rubber match of this series and looked strong. His seven strikeouts in five innings became a new career-high, and he limited the Catamounts to just four base knocks.  

Ragsdale went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in two runs, while Gonzalez scored the former with a double and infielder Anthony Zollo produced an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Ragsdale’s excellent start to the season has put him tops on the Gaels in hits and RBIs.  

Iona looked to be in prime position to secure their first win of the year after leading 4-0, but Western Carolina stormed back with eight unanswered runs, most notably a home run in the bottom half of the eighth.  

The Gaels then went down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning to hand the Catamounts a come-from-behind 8-4 win.  

The baseball program will pick things up again on Feb. 23 as they begin another three-game set; this time against Longwood University at Bolding Stadium in Farmville, VA.

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Robert Hughes
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