It was 38 degrees and a stiff gale was blowing off the Atlantic when a lefthanded freshman named Chase Denison threw the first pitch of the first NYU home baseball game in 42 years. The time was 12:08 p.m. Saturday afternoon, and the conditions were as brutal as the traffic on the Belt Parkway, but history waits for no man, or baseball-friendly weather.
There were 102 fans at MCU Park, home for now to both the Cyclones of Brooklyn and the Violets of NYU. The occasion included no bunting, no ceremonial first pitch, nothing but a Division III doubleheader by the sea against Brandeis.
The pitch from Denison, of Apex, N.C., was high and away to Brandeis leadoff man Liam O’Connor, and with that, NYU was back in the intercollegiate baseball business in the five boroughs after a four-decade hiatus. Moments later, O’Connor bounced out to shortstop Jonathan Iaione, and NYU had its first out since it finished off an 8-5 victory against Lehigh on May 7, 1973, even if the ultimate result at Coney Island was not what the home team was looking for, NYU dropping a 4-2 decision after a seventh-inning rally fell one hit short in the opener, and losing the second game 11-8.
“It’s an honor to be out there throwing the first game,” Denison said. “I wish the result had been different, [but] we have a good group of guys and when we get things all in synch, we’re going to do some special things.”