JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | William Paterson University (14-8, 3-3 NJAC) used two sensational pitching performances to sweep a New Jersey Athletic Conference doubleheader from the New Jersey City University baseball team (12-7, 3-3 NJAC) on April 7 at the Thomas M. Gerrity Athletic Complex.
Junior right-handed pitcher Corey Martinez (River Edge, N.J.) threw 7.0 masterful innings in game one and junior left-handed pitcher Chris Babb (West Milford, N.J.) struck out 11 batters in 7.0 innings in the nightcap to fuel the Pioneers to the sweep. WP has allowed just four runs in its three NJAC wins this season.
NJCU, which had won seven of eight games entering the day, gave up 10+ runs in a game for only the fourth time this season in game one then suffered its fourth one-run loss of the season in the nightcap.
GAME 1: William Paterson 10, New Jersey City 1
Martinez, who entered the game with a 1.39 ERA and .191 opposing batting average was dominant, improving to 4-1. In 7.0 innings over 94 pitches he struck out five (one walk) and allowed a run against six hits.
A scoreless pitchers' duel after four innings turned when WP scored three runs in the top of the fifth. Each team scored a run in the sixth before the Pioneers posted a five-spot in the eighth to pull away.
The Pioneers had a 15-6 advantage in hits—the second most hits by an NJCU opponent this season and the most in a loss.
WP had six doubles in the game. Freshman third baseman Christopher Liriano (Bergenfield, N.J.) had three RBIs, batting 3-for-5 with a run scored and freshman left fielder Francis Deane (Dumont, N.J.) drove in two runs, batting 3-for-5 (one run). Freshman first baseman Carson Weis (Rivervale, N.J.) knocked in two runs and scored twice in a 2-for-5 effort as the three rookies paced the Pioneers.
Also for WP, junior designated hitter Shane Adams (Cape May, N.J.) had his first two hits of the season—both doubles—and reached base three times (2-for-2, one walk). Senior catcher Jorge Solodkin (Short Hills, N.J.) was 2-for-4 (one run, one RBI) and freshman center fielder Steven DiGirolamo (Dumont, N.J.) walked and scored twice.
NJCU junior shortstop Nick LoGatto doubled in a 2-for-4 performance and senior first baseman Dan Berardi, the NJAC Player of the Week, batted 2-for-3 with a walk and his ninth double of the season.
In relief of Martinez, who threw 94 pitches, junior righty Jack Benson (Cedar Grove, N.J.) and junior righty Jeff Lombardi, Jr. (Kendall Park, N.J.) held NJCU without a hit in the final two innings.
Senior righty Dan Foley pitched well until three straight pitches led to the three runs in the fifth. Foley, the second of five NJCU hurlers to throw, took the loss. In 4.1 innings, he allowed four runs and six hits (two K's, two walks). Foley retired the first seven batters he faced and 11 of his first 12 pitches were strikes.
KEY MOMENTS (Game 1):
- In the WP second, a leadoff single, hit batter and four-pitch walked loaded the bases with one out. Foley came in in relief, got a foul out to first and a slow roller to third to end the threat. WP stranded two in the fourth inning.
- In the bottom of the fourth, LoGatto led off with a single but on a ground out was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base. Berardi was stranded at second after his 34th career double.
- With two outs in the fifth, WP scored three runs on three pitches to take a 3-0 lead. With DiGirolamo at first, freshman right fielder Dan Carter (Bloomfield, N.J.) doubled to right center and a run scored when the ball was booted in center. It wouldn't have mattered because Liriano doubled over the head and off the tip of the glove of a leaping sophomore right fielder Juan Pena in right field to drive in Carter, and he scored on an RBI single to right center by sophomore second baseman Matt Ferrara (Paramus, N.J.).
- In the sixth, Adams led off with a double down the right field line for his first hit of the season. Weis tried to sacrifice him over but junior catcher Jan Castellano got to the bunt quickly, fired to third to junior Jesse Kraft for a perfect swipe tag to erase the lead runner. NJCU intentionally walked DiGirolamo to face Deane who had struck out twice in the game. But on an 0-2 pitch, he singled to right center to drive in Weis for a 4-0 lead. A caught stealing at third on a delayed double steal ended the inning.
- In the sixth, junior second baseman Tom Pulcine stayed alive with one out and on the ninth pitch of a long at bat was hit by a pitch. A sac fly by sophomore left fielder Bill Feehan drove in Pulcine to get NJCU on the board, trailing, 4-1. Berardi lined a single to left and LoGatto, after colliding with the third baseman, was thrown out at the plate by Deane.
- WP put the game away with five runs on six hits in the top of the eighth. Adams led off the eighth with a wind-blown double and a pinch runner scored when Weis slipped a double down the left field line. A bloop single by Solodkin added a sixth run. Deane followed with WP's third double of the inning to increase the lead to 7-1. A two-run single to left by Liriano made it 9-1. LoGatto made a great defensive play on a wicked hop for an inning-ending double play. WP added a 10th run in the ninth after back-to-back walks and an RBI single through the left side by Weis.
GAME 2: William Paterson 4, New Jersey City 3
Babb (2-3) kept NJCU off balance, striking out 11 against two walks over 121 pitches, allowing three runs and six hits in 7.0 innings. He fanned the side in the fifth and five straight between the fifth and sixth innings.
William Paterson scored single runs in the first three innings, with the runs in the first and second frames unearned. NJCU got two runs back in the second. WP added a cushion run in the top of the fifth. NJCU had a chance to tie it in the eighth, but settled for just one run and couldn't notch the tying run.
Junior lefty Doug Olcese (Long Valley, N.J.) struck out a batter in relief in the eighth inning before junior righty Eric Rosenberg (Paramus, N.J.), the WP closer, locked down his fourth save of the season in the ninth.
Senior lefty Kyle Kafer allowed just two earned runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings, suffering the loss (2-2).
Senior lefty Mike Ramirez, who started the game in center where he played game one, struck out five and walked just one in 4.2 shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits over 64 pitches.
Each team had nine hits. Pena led the way for NJCU, batting 3-for-4 with a double and his 16th stolen base of the season. LoGatto extended his hitting streak to 13 with a double. Pulcine had an RBI and walked.
Ferrara led WP with two RBIs, batting 2-for-3 with a walk and Carter scored three of the four Pioneer runs, batting 2-for-4 with his eighth double and a walk. Solodkin was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
KEY MOMENTS (Game 2):
- WP struck first in the top of the first. With two outs, Carter singled, stole second and moved to third when the throw went into center. He scored on a slow rolling single to short by Liriano.
- Adams got on base in the second when Ramirez ran a long way in the gap to catch a ball had it carom off the heel of his glove. A two-out single to left center by Solodkin drove in freshman shortstop Greg Cuevas (West New York, N.J.), who reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and advanced on a groundout for a 2-0 lead.
- NJCU got the runs back in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 2-2. Pena singled, stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Ramirez to cut the deficit to 2-1. After a walk to Castellano, Pulcine singled to left center to tie the game. Castellano and Pulcine pulled off a double steal before both were stranded in scoring position.
- Carter led off the third with a double down the left field line and scored on a one-out single up the middle by Ferrara for a 3-2 margin.
- A key play came in the bottom of the third. Sophomore designated hitter/first baseman Lenin Gomez singled with two outs to extend his on-base streak to 19. Pena lined a double deep to the gap in left center and Gomez tried to score from first but was thrown out on a perfect throw to the plate by Cuevas.
- Pulcine's 4-4-3 double play helped NJCU get out of the fourth. In the fifth, WP saw two batters walk with one out. After Ramirez came in from center to pitch as part of a four-man defensive switch, Ferrara singled to right center score the inherited runner, Carter, for a 4-2 lead.
- NJCU had a chance in the seventh after Ramirez was hit by the first pitch of the inning, before Kraft hit a soft liner to first, Babb struck out Castellano on a wicked hanging curve, and a groundout ended the threat.
- After a double play ended the top of the eighth, LoGatto doubled down the left field line off the glove of the WP third baseman. Olcese came in and struck out Feehan before Berardi ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle to score LoGatto to shave the deficit to 4-3. Cuevas made a basket catch in shallow center for the second out before Pena singled down the left field line. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, but Ramirez popped out to second to end the threat with the tying run stranded at third and the go-ahead run at second base.
- In the bottom of the ninth, Rosenberg came on. Junior Mike Albunia had a pinch-hit single with one out. Pulcine, on a nine-pitch at bat, including four straight foul balls, flew out to center. With LoGatto at the plate, freshman Mike O'Donnell, the pinch runner, tried to steal second to give NJCU the tying run in scoring position, but was thrown out on a throw by Solodkin with Ferrara applying the win-sealing tag.
- Lenin Gomez has an active 19-game on-base streak this season and 20 games dating to the end of the 2017 season.
- Tom Pulcine has an active 16-game on-base streak.
- Nick LoGatto extended his hitting streak to 13 games, matching former teammate Joe Coutinho for the longest over the last two seasons. He also has an active 13-game on-base streak.
- Mike Ramirez has an active 13-game on-base streak.
- Dan Berardi has an active 10-game on-base streak.
- With Sunday's non-conference game at King's College (Pa.) postponed, NJCU next plays Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham on Tuesday, April 10 (3:30 p.m.) in Madison, N.J.
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