Slow open for baseball season

Brad Waldstreicher, Contributing Writer

When freshman Chase Dension took the mound for the NYU baseball team in a spring training game in Georgia against Oglethorpe University on Friday, it was the first time in over 40 years that NYU was officially represented on a baseball diamond. The last time an NYU varsity baseball team played was against Princeton in 1974. This year’s Violets are confident they are going to enjoy more success than the 1974 team, which finished their season 0-14. Led by coach Doug Kimbler, the young team, which sports 23 freshman and no seniors, started their spring training over the weekend.

In their first game on Friday, NYU had three scoreless innings from Denison. The Violets encountered problems with errors in the bottom of the fourth inning, however, giving Oglethorpe the chance to jump out to a five-run lead.

They were determined to get on the scoreboard and succeeded in the top of the seventh when errors allowed freshman Jake Smith to cross the plate. The next batter, freshman Christian Pellegrino, blasted a single that plated freshman David Wagner for the program’s first RBI in four decades. The final score was 9-3, in favor of Oglethorpe.

NYU fared worse in the first game of Saturday’s double-header, when they let up eight unearned runs through three innings for a final score of 18-3.

Freshman Michael Vokulich delivered a spectacular performance to spark NYU in the final game of the series.

“I knew we couldn’t lose all three games and someone had to stop the other team’s momentum,” Vokulich said.

The freshman pitched 6.2 innings without letting up a run, while striking out two batters. NYU played an errorless game in the field. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, coach Kimbler brought in freshman pitcher Matthew Millus to get the final out. He did just that in one pitch to secure a much needed 2-0 victory.

Sam Raskin, the Violets’ freshman first baseman, talked about the importance of fundamentals.

“In the third game, we started throwing early strikes consistently and making the routine plays that need to be made in order to have success at the college level,” Raskin said.

Coach Kimbler said the team’s philosophy will be going forward.

“We follow a pretty simple philosophy,” Kimbler said. “Pay attention to details and play like it’s Game 7. On the top of our practice plan every single day is this statement: ‘Throw strikes, catch the ball, and a timely hit and we win.’”

The Violets won’t play again until early March, but said they are thrilled to have the pressure of playing their first games out of the way. From March 8 to 15, the Violets will travel to Florida to play in a UAA tournament.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 17 print edition. Email Brad Waldstreicher at [email protected].