Little Falls, NJ (4/19/09) – Sophomore rightfielder Anthony Palmiotto (Manchester, NJ / Manchester Township) of The College of New Jersey singled home the eventual game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning of the opener while Montclair State seniors Jason Lopez (West New York, NJ / Memorial) and Matt Hartwick (Ringwood, NJ / Lakeland Regional) combined for seven RBI in the second game as the Lions and Red Hawks split an NJAC doubleheader at Yogi Berra Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
TCNJ took the opener 8-7 before Montclair State snapped the Lions’ seven-game winning streak with a 16-5 victory in Game Two. The split left TCNJ at 19-13-1 overall, 11-4 in the NJAC, one game behind Kean University for first place. Montclair State is now 18-13 overall, 9-5 in conference as MSU wrapped up a week in which it won six of eight contests over the past six days. The Red Hawks are currently in fourth place in the conference.
In the first game, Montclair State clawed back from a 7-4 deficit with two runs in the seventh and tied the game in the bottom of the ninth as freshman pinch-hitter Adam Bergman (Berkeley Heights, NJ / Gov. Livingston) lined a two-out base hit to right field scoring Jonathan Trotter (Flanders, NJ / Mount Olive) with the game-tying run to force extra innings.
The Lions would get the go-ahead run with some two-out magic of its own. Andrew Priece (Bridgewater, NJ / Bridgewater-Raritan) and Mike Galeotafiore (Brick, NJ / Christian Brothers Academy) drew walks to put runners at first and second. Palmiotto the bounced a single through the right side scoring pinch-runner Jared Tramutola (Jackson, NJ / Toms River South) for an 8-7 New Jersey lead.
Montclair State would threaten in the bottom of the 10th. Sam Politan (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) reached on a fielder’s choice to keep MSU’s at bat going and Scott Evangelist (Northfield, NJ / Holy Spirit) followed with a base hit to put runners at the corners with two outs. But reliever Eric Gertie (Cinnaminson, NJ / Cinnaminson) got force out at second for the final out as TCNJ claimed the one-run victory.
Gerite picked up the victory as he improved to 2-1 on the season. Freshman lefthander Sean Hille (Edison, NJ / St. Joseph’s (Metuchen)) took the loss, his first decision of the year.
James Ruzich (Verona, NJ / Montclair Kimberly Academy) was 3-for-5 and drove four runs, including a two-run homer in the fifth that gave the Lions a 5-4 lead. It was Ruzich’s second homer of the season. Vin Mazzacaro (Gloucester, NJ / Gloucester Catholic) and and Chris Esperon (Union, NJ / Union Catholic) each had three hits while Adam Tussey (Brooklawn, NJ / Gloucester) collected two as the Lions posted 17 in the contest.
The teams combined to strand 29 runners in the game, including three times with the bases loaded.
In the second contest, the Lions jumped on top with an unearned run in the first as Tussey, singled to open the game and eventually scored on an errant throw on a two-out strikeout in the dirt.
Montclair State would answer in its half as Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) bounced a singled through the middle to score Jay Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ / Pequannock) knotting the game at 1-1. Montclair then took the lead the following inning scoring twice. McGraw put MSU ahead to stay with a base hit Bionde scored on balk to give the Red Hawks a 3-1 lead.
MSU then busted the game open in the third with nine runs, sending 13 batters to the plate at it capitalized on two TCNJ errors. Hartwick brought in the first run with ground ball and Bionde was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make the score 5-1. McGraw then lofted two-out fly ball that was misplayed clearing the bases as MSU went up by seven. Evangelist would later addean RBI single and Lopez blasted a three-run double to cap the inning a Montclair led 12-1.
That proved to be more than enough for junior lefthander John Masklee (Totowa, NJ / Seton Hall Prep), who improved to 4-3. Masklee went the first seven innings allowing six hits and two runs, one earned as he fanned five and walked one. Sean Flanagan (Manalapan, NJ / Manalapan) took the loss to fall to 1-2.
Lopez and McGraw each had two hits for MSU while Tussey, Esperon and Jeff Toth (Parlin, NJ / Sayreville War Memorial) all had two hits apiece for New Jersey.
Both are next in action against Johns Hopkins University. TCNJ travels to Baltimore, MD to meet the Blue Jays on Monday, April 20 at 3:30 pm. Montclair State hosts JHU at Yogi Berra Stadium the next evening (April 21) at 7:00 pm.