Senior Nick Macaione is one of the top pitchers for Lehigh this year. His nine inning no-hitter against Iona College was one of the highlights of his senior season. (Molly Brooks/B&W photo)

Nick Macaione dominates for the Hawks on the mound


Morale was low for Lehigh baseball and hope seemed like the best strategy to senior pitcher Nick Macaione as he stepped up to the plate for the third game of a series against Iona College.

Senior pitcher Nick Macaione practices on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. His ERA for this season is 2.68 and he has helped lead the Mountain Hawks this season. (Liz Cornell/B&W photo)

Senior pitcher Nick Macaione practices on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. His ERA for this season is 2.68 and he has helped lead the Mountain Hawks this season. (Liz Cornell/B&W photo)

The team’s scheduled opening tournament was canceled the week before and the first two games against Iona were frustrating losses. Macaione, however, seized the high-pressure situation and took it upon himself to turn the weekend around for his team by throwing a rare no-hitter.

“By the third inning, I realized how good my mechanics felt and realized it was my game to take,” Macaione said.

The heckling from players and thundering outbursts of the opposing coaches began to escalate, but Macaione remained unfazed. He continued to pitch flawlessly in the cold weather through nine innings and 100 pitches before he was relieved for the last few innings of the 11-inning game.

“Nick stepped up and put the team on his back in that game,” assistant coach John Fugett said.

Junior second baseman Mike Garzillo said that game was special because the team never lost focus.

“You just knew he was going to make his pitches,” Garzillo said.

Macaione has grown into one of the most talented and steadfast players on the Lehigh baseball team, contributing to its high placement in conference rankings and leading peers and underclassmen in the pursuit of a Patriot League title.

Throughout high school, the Andover, New Jersey, native was a multi-sport athlete competing at high levels in both soccer and baseball at North Warren High School. He was recruited by Lehigh for baseball and has played in 10, 10 and 12 games, respectively, in his freshman through junior seasons.

Despite having good stats and some success on the field, he was never able to perform at his current level until this season, according to coach Sean Leary.

Fugett said Macaione has always been a really tough kid and this year he has had the opportunity to be healthy and step up, and the pieces are finally falling together for him.

Additionally, Macaione said he believes that his ability to play all summer at a high level and immerse himself in highly competitive games gave him the confidence to take into his college season. He believes the biggest shift this year came in his mindset.

“I decided to stop letting what I couldn’t control affect me,” Macaione said. “I’d rather pitch for my team than hold back.”

The Mountain Hawks are currently 12-20 for the season and 7-5 in the Patriot League, which is not where they had hoped to be at this point, but still gives the team a chance.

“When it comes down to it, the Patriot League is all that matters,” Macaione said.

Along with his success on the mound, Macaione also brings leadership and support to the team outside of his athletic abilities, as well.

“Nick performs so well that it allows him to lead well,” Garzillo said.

Garzillo and the rest of the team have a very high level of respect for Macaione because of his passion. When he speaks, teammates say that he speaks with true emotion. Garzillo said that each position group on the team has its own specialized practice, but Macaione has the ability to connect with everyone and genuinely cares about those around him.

His coaches mirrored those sentiments saying that the team feels for him and knows that he deserves the success he is finally seeing. Macaione is excited for his teammates when they do well and they return the same enthusiasm for his pitching, which creates a strong and trusting team dynamic according to Fugett.

“He makes people better around him,” Leary said. “He made us better last year even when he was not always on the field.”

Both coaches said he has been a pleasure to coach and is one of the strongest leaders to come through the program.

Macaione is planning to finish his biology degree this year but has also talked to some scouts about playing baseball post-college.

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