BY RYAN HATHAWAY // April 18, 2015 //
Senior captain Thomas Fitzpatrick pitched a complete-game shutout, backed up by impeccable defense, as the Colonels snatched Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon against the Western New England Golden Bears, 1-0.
“I just threw outs, man,” said Fitzpatrick, who was all smiles after the game. “I had the defense behind me, so I just threw the ball over the plate and let them hit it.”
Fitzpatrick allowed four hits and walked just one. He said he took advantage of the umpire’s low strike zone. “Once I saw he was giving it, I definitely started to go after it a little bit more,” he said. “Once I was getting the off-speed outside, and he was giving me that [strike call], I knew it was going to be a good day.”
Assistant Coach Brad Fogel had high praise of Fitzpatrick’s outing. “He’s our No. 1 guy,” Fogel said. “He’s our senior captain and he did exactly what a senior captain is supposed to do in a conference game, and that’s go out and shut the door.
“There was never a doubt in our mind that we were going to roll him out there and let him finish that game.”
The Colonels scored their lone run in the first inning. Sophomore Alex McLean earned a one-out walk and advanced to second after freshman Evan Morris grounded into a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Brian Burke singled to right-center, scoring McLean.
The Colonels’ offense was quiet the rest of the game, as Golden Bears pitcher David Cherry gave up just one more hit. Cherry struck out six and walked one, which ended up being the game-winning run.
Fitzpatrick’s performance was aided by two tremendous defensive plays. In the sixth inning, Golden Bears senior Matt Anziano hit a rocket to the gap in right-center. Junior centerfielder Kyle Connors tracked it and made a diving attempt but was unable to catch the ball. Right away, though, he jumped up and made a strong throw to second where Anziano was tagged out.
Then, with two outs in the inning, WNE senior Stephen Buckley ripped a hard-hit ground ball up the middle that looked like a base hit. Senior captain Derek Pizarro, playing shortstop, ranged far to his left and made a beautiful play on the ball before spinning and throwing Buckley out at first to end the inning.
Fitzpatrick joked that the play was a routine one for the slick-fielding Pizarro.
“I don’t think that’s a routine play for any shortstop, but he sure made it look easy,” said Fogel with a laugh.