Baseball's Rally in Eighth Lifts MSU by NJCU, 9-5

Little Falls, NJ (4/1/10) - Junior second baseman Andrew Himmelfarb (Nyack, NY / Nyack) belted a three-run homer to spark a four-run eighth inning by Montclair State as the Red Hawks slipped past New Jersey City University, 9-5 in the NJAC opener for both teams at Yogi Berra Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

Sophomore leftfielder Mickey McGraw (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI as the Red Hawks won their third straight improving to 8-4 on the year (1-0 NJAC).

Senior Alex Mena (North Bergen, NJ / Hudson Catholic) and junior Ken Witte (Wantage, NJ / High Point) each hit home runs for the Gothic Knights, who had a five-game win streak snapped in the loss. NJCU, which rallied back from a 4-0 deficit, is now 8-8 overall (0-1 NJAC).

Montclair jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second. With one out, Scott Glozzy (Hackettstown, NJ / Warren Hills) drew a walk and moved to second as Matt Moreno (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) singled in the infield. McGraw then lined a triple up the right-center gap scoring both runners for a 2-0 MSU lead. Jay Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ /Pequannock) delivered McGraw with an RBI ground out.

An RBI single by Jason Chesterman (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield) gave MSU a four-run lead, however NJCU began to chip away at the deficit scoring once in the fifth. Rob Gonzalez (Brick, NJ / Brick Memorial) singled and then made a great hustle play racing all the way third on a ground out. He would score on Mike Fiorentino’s (Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ / Pt. Pleasant Beach) ground out.

The gap closed even further in the sixth on one swing of the bat by Mena, who launched a two-run homer to left making the score 4-3. It was Mena’s second home run of the year. Witte then tied the game in the seventh as he led off the inning with a solo shot

Montclair would regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Scott Evangelist (Northfield, NJ / Holy Spirit) however the Gothic Knights answered again in the eighth as Eddie Gonzalo (Union City, NJ / Union Hill) doubled to center with two outs knotting the game at 5-5.

In the bottom of the eighth, led off with a single up the middle and went to second on a ground out. Adam Bergman (Berkeley Heights, NJ / Gov. Livingston) line a base hit through the left side scoring Chesterman as Montclair led 6-5. Bionde was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Himmelfarb then cleared bases with a homer to left-center field as Montclair led 9-5.

Senior righthander Will Traverso (Verona, NJ / Verona) retired the side in order I the ninth to preserve the win for sophomore righty Kevin Miller (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield), who pitched the seventh and eight innings to earn his first decision of the year (1-0). Randy Parish (Rahway, NJ / Central (Brooksville, FL)) took the loss falling to 0-3.

Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ / Cedar Grove) was 3-for-3 at the plate while Chesterman went 2-for-4. Gonzalez, Witte and Mena had two hits apiece for NJCU as each team collected 11 in the contest.

The Red Hawks go right back to work on Friday, April 2 as they host Rutgers-Newark at Yogi Berra Stadium beginning at 3:30 pm.