The LIU Blackbirds continued their strong play on the road this season in the Northeast Conference. Last weekend we came out of Smithfield, RI with a series victory against a tough Bryant University team. So far this season the Blackbirds are 8-3 in three NEC road series this year, which shows our teams ability to focus and concentrate on the road.
Game 1 featured another strong performance from Sophomore RHP Chris Franzese. Chris tossed 8 innings allowing 1 ER. Evan Zerff continued being a rock out of the LIU bullpen, securing his 11th Save after pitching the 9th inning. Junior C Tyler Jones was 3-4 with 2 RBI’s while Junior SS Drew Walsh added 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Blackbirds.
Game 2 was a bit of a different story. With Justin Topa cruising into the 5th inning with a 2-1 LIU lead, the Blackbirds had some untimely miscues in a 9 run 5th inning while committing 4 errors. we went on to lose game 2 10-5.
Game 3 we did what we have done all year, turned the page on a loss and came back strong to pick up a 4-0 victory. Sophomore LHP Matt McCormick who has been automatic in NEC play this year (5-0 1.89 ERA) came through with a complete game shutout. McCormick needed just 82 pitches to silence the Bulldogs and give us a much needed lift and series win (game 4 rained out Saturday).
With the series win the Blackbirds improved to 14-5 in NEC play with 3 weeks left to play. We currently sit in second place percentage points behind Monmouth University. This weekend the Blackbirds return to the Bird Cage to face mount St. Mary’s in a four game NEC series.
The guys are having a great time and doing a wonderful job of playing one game at a time, pitch by pitch, out by out, inning by inning. Continuing to see this team make gradual strides as the season progresses is great. While the team remains confident in their ability to play with anyone, they have kept a calmness about themselves. They have been dilligent day in day out with the way they prepare in practice and before games. We have a slogan on our weight lifting shirts, it says “I will beat you, because I will outwork you.” It has somewhat taken on a life of it’s own with this team and we couldn’t be any prouder of our guys. The chemistry within our team is seamless. There are a lot of talented teams out there (and we are one of them) but chemistry is something that coaches have no control over. You go out, you recruit the players that you feel are a good fit for your program and you hope that they “get it” collectively. So far so good for the Blackbirds but we have a long way to go with our season and remind our guys every day that we haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“Don’t allow complacency to settle in, it ruins greatness.”