Thursday at 8 a.m. Molloy sophomore John Galanoudis was sitting down for his biology final in Rockville Centre. Just after noon he was in the batter's box at Golden Lion Field on the campus of Dowling, looking to solve another problem -- how he and his Molloy teammates would score runs off dominating Dowling starter Tyler Badamo.
Galanoudis figured it out early, hitting his first home run of the season to give his team all the runs it would need en route to a 6-0 win in the opening game of the East Coast Conference Baseball Tournament.
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"It was absolutely huge," Galanoudis said. "Badamo has a great arm and Dowling is a good team so we knew right off the bat we'd have to get everything going early."
The two early runs gave starter Max Schonfeld a lead he never got in his last matchup against Badamo -- a 2-1 loss on March 28 in which both pitchers threw complete games.
"Max was in a lot of one-run losses this year and in a lot of games he pitched against other teams' number ones," Molloy head coach Joe Fucarino said. "He's a pitcher. He's a throwback who moves the ball and throws strikes and does what he has to do."
Schonfeld scattered seven hits and didn't walk anyone in a complete game.
"I was confident coming in," Schonfeld said. "Badamo is a great pitcher and I knew if I could match him we'd hit and play defense and we came up big and got the win."
Molloy added a run in the third after leadoff hitter Greg Walsh tripled to deep centerfield and scored on a wild pitch. Walsh, Carlos Guzman and Galanoudis, the 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup, combined to get on base six times and scored five runs.
"We decided to be a little more aggressive, especially on fastballs that we could handle," Galanoudis said. "We weren't going to come out and swing at everything but we were ready to come out controlled and if the pitch was there we were going to hack at it. We weren't going to be patient and let ourselves get deep because the guys on the Dowling staff, especially Badamo, have swing-and-miss strikeout stuff."
Erik Pyle's two-out bases clearing double in the fifth provided the final margin.
Playing on the road was nothing new for Molloy, which has played its "home" games on various fields around Long Island in 2013.
"Honestly this has been our setup all year," Fucarino said. "Our guys are used to it -- we're used to piling in vans, we're used to taking cage BP, we've got a good rapport about ourselves. I can't say enough about my guys. They understand how to take on the grind."
And now they know how to beat an ace.