Iona looks to push through tough season as conference play begins



Junior Brian Picone has 13 runs and 21 hits this season.

Will Schneiderhan, Staff Writer

The Iona College baseball team has had to battle through a lot of ups and downs throughout a tough 2019 campaign. The Gaels’ 8-26 record lands near the bottom of the MAAC rankings, just above Saint Peter’s University.

Iona is 3-6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, as the schedule gets deeper into conference play.

While it is an uphill climb, doing some damage down the stretch can revive the team’s season and provide the group with a jolt of energy as the MAAC tournament approaches.

Iona was riding an eight-game losing streak before they won two consecutive games against Rider on April 13 and 14. The bulk of the team’s remaining schedule features many road games outside of two home series.

Iona has been finding themselves down early in games. The Gaels have been outscored 34-12 in the first inning of games, which makes it difficult to get on a run, as they have had to fight from the get-go.

Avoiding big innings is necessary, as the Gaels have been able to jump on starters early and do damage as the game reaches the later stages. They have scored a total of 44 runs from the seventh inning on, while registering 31 runs during the first three innings.

Junior Brian Picone has been the team’s leading hitter. He currently has a .323 batting average and a .423 on-base percentage in 65 at-bats. Sophomore Sam Punzi is second on the team in both batting average, .290, and RBI, 15. Senior Joe Demaio has also held his own at the plate with a .280 batting average and .359 on-base percentage in 82 at-bats.

Pitching has been Iona’s biggest concern this season. The Gaels carry a 6.18 ERA and have allowed opponents to get a .289 batting average.

Junior Stephen Hansen leads the team with his 50.2 innings pitched and 47 strikeouts. Hansen has a 4.26 ERA and allowed only nine walks.

Freshman Michael Untracht’s 2.53 ERA leads the team, but he has accumulated that total with a lesser workload of 10.2 innings pitched. Junior Jason Goetz is second on the team with a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings.

Over the next few weeks, the Gaels are scheduled to play Niagara, Siena, Quinnipiac, Monmouth and Saint Peter’s.