AUBURNDALE, Fla. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Senior right-hander Fernando Guerrero was dominant in his first start for the New Jersey City University baseball team, striking out eight in 7.0 shutout innings as the Gothic Knights won for the first time on their spring trip, knocking off Concordia-Moorhead, 5-1, in game two of a split-site and opponent doubleheader at Lake Myrtle Park's Main Field on March 11.
Guerrero (1-1), a former two-year performer at Division I Marshall who transferred to NJCU (1-3) this season, allowed just three hits in 7.0 innings, walking one over 96 pitches (two hit batters). He handed the ball to freshman righty John Pudder who locked down NJCU's first win at the RussMatt College Spring Break Invitational with his first career save, striking out one (one walk) and allowing just one hit and one run in 2.0 innings. The Cobbers, members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), fell to 5-4.
After being shutout in its previous two games, the Gothic Knights scored three times in the top of the first, then bookended its victory with two runs in the top of the ninth of the neutral-site affair. No NJCU player had multiple hits; the Knights collected seven as a team.
NJCU broke through in the opening inning when senior second baseman Tom Pulcine was hit by a pitch after a nine-pitch battle with CC senior righty Fletcher Andel (Oxbow, N.D.), senior center fielder Jesse Kraft walked and senior shortstop Nick LoGatto singled before Pulcine scored on a throwing error. The miscue did not factor into the inning as junior right fielder Juan Pena had a productive groundout to force in Kraft and after LoGatto stole third, came in for a 3-0 lead on a ground ball by sophomore third baseman Dan McLaughlin, making his first career start.
From there, Guerrero took over. He did not record a strikeout in the first inning, fired one in the second, and fanned three batters in the third. The Cobbers did threaten in the fifth, loading the bases on a double, walk and two-out error, before Guerrero forced an inning-ending pop out. Guerrero K'd two batters in the sixth and after a double play by LoGatto and Pulcine in the seventh, struck out the final batter he faced in the frame.
NJCU added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth, aided by an error. Senior catcher Mike Albunia and senior designated hitter Matt Corsi capitalized on the extended inning, singling back-to-back to score Pena and rookie first baseman Ricky Voss. The Cobbers broke up the shutout in the ninth on a two-out RBI single to center by senior catcher Alec Sames (Flemington, N.J.).
After a rough first inning, Andel settled down and pitched well in defeat (0-1), going 8.0 innings, with four strikeouts and two walks. He allowed three runs and four hits over 108 pitches. Sames finished 2-for-4 for the Cobbers.
On day four of the spring trip on Tuesday, March 12, NJCU faces Simpson College (Iowa) at 9:15 a.m. The Storm, members of the American Rivers Conference, are 3-0 so far this season. After playing four games at Lake Myrtle Park, the Knights shift action to Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. for days four and five of the trip. Watch live on #GothicVision at www.NJCUGothicKnights.com/GothicVision or live stats https://njcugothicknights.com/sidearmstats/baseball/summary.
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