AUBURNDALE, FL (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | New Jersey City University junior left-hander DELIO COUTINHO (Colonia, NJ/Colonia) equaled a modern day program record with 14 strikeouts and allowed just one earned run but received no run support as the Gothic Knights dropped a 4-0 decision to Rockford University at Lake Myrtle Park.
Coutinho struck out 14 Regent batters, walked five and allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits over 139 pitches in 8.0 innings to suffer an incredibly hard-luck loss (1-1). He faced 34 batters and struck out an equal number of batters swinging (seven) and looking (seven).
His 14 strikeouts are the most since Baldwin Vargas fanned 14 in seven innings in a 15-2 win over Rutgers-Camden on April 26, 2008. Coutinho's and Vargas' 14 strikeouts are the most on record for an NJCU pitcher since Harry Durkee struck out 17 for then Jersey City State Teacher's College in 1949.
Meanwhile, reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Week, MICHAEL MARTUCCI (Bayonne, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep), who began the game in center field, came on in relief as the third NJCU pitcher and retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth (one hit), striking out one batter looking. That K gave NJCU 15 as a team—the most as a team since at least the 2000 season.
NJCU (1-6) fell to 1-4 on its 2014 spring trip, dropping its fourth consecutive game while being shutout for the second time (2-0, Pitt-Greensburg, March 9).
Rockford (6-3), which later in the day knocked off fellow New Jersey Athletic Conference foe The College of New Jersey (9-8), got a shutout pitching performance from senior right-hander Kaleb Rich, who allowed five hits in 7.0 innings, striking out seven while walking three over 118 pitches.
"This was one of the best pitching performances I've seen since I've been here—if not the best," third-year head coach Jerry Smith said, praising the performance of Coutinho. "I just felt like he was in command, working at his pace, his tempo, and in control of a lot of things today. Because he was moving at a good pace and tempo, his confidence was like 'anytime he needed a strikeout he could get one' and it never wavered the entire game. He was in attack mode. He wasn't trying to be too fine. That's what I like to see—him trusting himself and going after guys. His confidence was at an all-time high."
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