Suffolk Baseball Shines in Florida, Eager to Build off of Successful Start

The Suffolk University baseball team traveled down to Florida to start its 2013 season and came back to Boston with more than just a new tan. The Rams returned from their time in the sunshine state with a 7-1 record, good for first place in the GNAC.

Suffolk lost its first game 10-5 to Thomas More College but ran off seven straight wins afterwards.

“After the first game, we were a little worried. We lead the whole game and then lost it in the end. By the third game, we knew we what kind of team we had,” junior starting pitcher Jonathan Richard said.

The Rams played the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in their third game, which they won 24-6 in seven innings.

“Going into the season, we knew we had a few more pitchers this year. Last year we were confident in our bats and with the new guys, we could be more dominant on the mound. It’s going great so far on both ends… we have an explosive offense and solid defense,” Richard said.

One of the reasons the Rams have had such a strong start to the season offensively has been the play of the team’s two captains Jake Cintolo and Mike Cunningham. Cintolo tied the Suffolk record for doubles as junior and Cunningham is third in batting average in the GNAC.

The captains and the rest of the Suffolk offense outscored their eight opponents 89-46 but did have help from those on the mound.

“The top of our rotation has been lights out,” Richard said. “It’s going great right now. We focus on getting two strikes through the first three pitches and trying to get our ERAs below three. We pitch to contact so guys in the field can make plays.”

Richard himself earned his first two wins of the season down in Florida, which he explained is about team building just as much as winning and losing.

“Florida is the most exciting part of the year besides the GNAC tournament. Going down there is one of the most unique experiences. True bonding goes on when you live with a guy for seven, eight days. You learn about them and their lives.”

Richard is hopeful that the bonding and winning ways of the beginning of the season in Florida continue now that the team is back in Boston.

“We’re not intimidated to go into any game against any opponent. Everyone’s goal is to win the GNAC and beat St. Joe’s and we need to keep that the main focus,” the pitcher said.

The Monks have defeated Suffolk in the GNAC championship each of the last two seasons.

“This year is the first time we feel comfortable matching [St. Joseph’s] at every position. Before they had us on the ropes but no one is scared to play them this year. We can beat them,” said Richard.

The Rams will hope to move towards those goals when they get back on the field this weekend when they play a double header with Rhode Island College on Saturday and then Brandeis on Sunday.