Late-Inning Explosion Keys Baseball Past Rhodes in Season Opener, 14-5

Box Score

Piedmont, GA (3/4/11) – Sophomore Matt Moreno (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) delivered a pinch-hit two run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Montclair State the lead and the Red Hawks exploded for eight runs in the eighth as MSU tallied the final 11 runs in a 14-5 season-opening victory over Rhodes College on Friday evening at Piedmont College.

Junior righthander Paul Ciccazzo (Staten Island, NY / Tottenville) provided a solid 2.2 innings of scoreless relief for the win as Montclair rallied back from an early 4-0 deficit.

Montclair State trailed 4-0 before it came to bat in the game as the Lynx (5-8) took advantage of three errors by the Red Hawks to grab the four-run lead.

MSU would get back within a run in the bottom of the second as they capitalized on two errors by Rhodes. Mickey McGraw (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) and Jason Chesterman (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield) both reached on errors putting runners at first and second. After a strikeout, Anthony Bowens (Nutley , NJ / Nutley) singled home McGraw for the first run and Jay Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ / Pequannock) lofted a sacrifice fly to score Chesterman. Stolz would steal second and that proved to be big play as he scored on Cody Pace's (Milltown, NJ / Spotswood) two-out single as Montclair closed the gap to 4-3.

Rhodes would add a run in the fifth, however that would be all the Lynx would get the rest of the way. Ciccazzo came out of the bullpen with two on and one out in the sixth and escaped the jam. In the seventh, he allowed a leadoff double and balk that put a runner a third and no one out however he would strikeout the next two hitters and induce a ground ball out to end that threat as MSU trailed 5-3.

After missing opportunities to tie the game in the previous three innings, Montclair would finally break through with three runs in the seventh. Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ / Cedar Grove) singled with one out and Lou Martini (Flemington, NJ / North Hunterdon) reached on a error. Another miscue by the Lynx loaded the bases and the Red Hawks drew to 5-4 as pinch-hitter Sam Politan (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) walked to force in a run. Moreno then stepped to the plate and smacked a 1-1 pitch into centerfield driving in two as Montclair took the lead 6-5.

The Red Haws then put the game away with its eight run erruption in the eighth. Bond delivered two runs with a triple and Politan's sacrifice fly made the score 9-5. Bionde would later add an RBI single and Kevin Miller (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield), who began the inning with a walk, singled home two more as MSU led 13-5. Michael Boggi (Towaco, NJ / Montville) had the final RBI in the frame.

Ciccazzo got the win in his first appearance with Montclair State. He allowed two hits and struck out three. Freshman lefthander Jonathan Torregroza (Bound Brook, NJ / Immaculata) tossed a scoreless ninth. Junior lefthander Sean Hille (Edison, NJ / St. Joseph's (Metuchen)) got the start and went the first 5.1 innings. Hille, five hits and five runs, two earned, struck out seven and walked three.

Bond finished 3-for-5 for Montclair while Boggi added two hits. MSU totaled 13 in the game.

The Red Hawks continue their three-game road swing at Piedmont College on Saturday as they face Capital University at 3:00 pm