JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | With three runs in the first and two more in the second, the New Jersey City University baseball team (10-5) compiled more than enough to last the rest of the game as the Gothic Knights defeated the Blue Knights of Mount Saint Mary College, 6-4, in a non-conference matchup on April 2 at the Thomas M. Gerrity Athletic Complex.
The Gothic Knights have now won 10 of their last 12 games, reaching double-digit wins at the earliest date on the calendar since being 12-4 at the end of March in 2016. NJCU is enjoying its winningest stretch since going 12-2 in a 14-game span from April 9 to May 7, 2005. Mount Saint Mary fell back to .500 on the year (8-8).
The Knights were led by reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Week Juan Pena (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy), who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, and another three steals. Pena, who entered the day ranked fourth in Division III in steals per game (1.21), is now 20-for-23 on the year.
Senior second baseman Matt Corsi (Toms River, NJ/Toms River East) moved into the team lead for RBI (17) thanks to a two-hit, three-RBI performance. Sophomore designated hitter Brandon Rivera (Aberdeen, NJ/Matawan Regional) also reached three times (two hits and a walk), coming around to score once.
Senior right-handed pitcher Nate Facey (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) improved to 2-0 for NJCU. Rookie closer John Pudder (Manalapan, NJ/Manalapan) nailed down his third save of the season.
Nick LoGatto (Helmetta, NJ/Spotswood) got things going for the Knights with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. The senior shortstop ripped one into the left-center gap, showing off his wheels by hustling into third for a stand-up triple. After a walk and steal from Pena, Corsi broke the seal on the game with a double down the left field line, giving NJCU the early 2-0 lead. Mount Saint Mary starter Robert Brust (Shirley, N.Y.) (4.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO) struggled to find the plate after that, walking two straight hitters before hitting freshman left fielder Leo Colon (Carteret, NJ/St. Anthony (Jersey City)) to bring around the third run of the inning for NJCU.
On the mound for the Knights, Facey (5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 82 pitches) was dealing early, retiring the side in order in the first and second innings, and only allowing a baserunner in the third via an error. In the fourth, MSMC got a leadoff single and subsequently stole second, but Facey was able to put down the next three batters in order, stranding the runner at second.
After a 1-2-3 fifth, Facey finally ran into trouble in the sixth. After inducing a fly out to start the inning, the next five batters reached, three with singles and two with walks, cutting the NJCU lead to 5-3 and chasing the Knights' starter. Senior left-handed pitcher Kyle McCabe (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial), NJCU's fixer, came into the game in a sticky situation and yet again got out of the inning with a groundout and a fly out to maintain the two-run edge for NJCU.
Neither team was able to push across another run until the eighth when the Knights were able to pick up an insurance run thanks to a Rivera leadoff single and some small ball to push the lead out to 6-3.
Mount Saint Mary attempted a rally in the ninth, with a one-out single followed by ground-rule double to put the tying run at the plate. After a sacrifice fly cut the lead to two, Pudder came on in relief of sophomore righty Jason Rivera (Clifton, NJ/Clifton), who had thrown well (2.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO), but had walked the tying run onto first with two outs in the top of the ninth. Pudder didn't need to retire an out. Just a few pitches later, however, Pudder's battery mate, rookie catcher Anthony Palmisano (Colonia, NJ/Colonia), made his job easy, throwing behind the runner at second base to pick him off and hand the 6-4 victory to the Knights in style.
MSMC outhit NJCU, 10-8. Freshman shortstop Devin Tait was 3-for-4 while junior first baseman/catcher Michael Doxey and freshman right fielder Anthony Franco each had two hits. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Robert Brust was the loser (1-1).
- Juan Pena (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy) extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
- Nick LoGatto (Helmetta, NJ/Spotswood) extended his active on-base streak to 13 games with his first-inning triple.
- Pulcine had his 12-game on-base streak broken.
NJCU returns to NJAC play to square off with No. 7/16 Rowan University (13-5, 1-1 NJAC) in a home-and-home matchup on Thursday and Friday. The Knights play host to the Profs on Thursday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m. before traveling to Glassboro on Friday, April 5 to face off for another 3:30 first pitch. Watch live on #GothicVision at www.NJCUGothicKnights.com/GothicVision or live stats https://njcugothicknights.com/sidearmstats/baseball/summary.
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