Ewing, NJ (4/30/11) – The Montclair State baseball team creeped closer toward earning a berth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Baseball Championship as the Red Hawks split their doubleheader with The College of New Jersey at Ackerman Park on Saturday afternoon.
MSU (16-15) lost the first game 7-5 before coming back to salvage the split with a 7-1 victory in the second contest. The split leaves Montclair State at 8-8 in the NJAC standings, good enough for sixth place a game ahead of William Paterson. Montclair visits Richard Stockton on Sunday, May 1 and needs either a win or a WPU loss to Rutgers-Camden in their doubleheader to get into the conference tournament, which begins on Tuesday, May 3.
Should MSU and William Paterson finish in a tie, the Red Hawks would
get the nod based on their two-game sweep of the Pioneers on April
Connor Henderson (Monmouth Jct. NJ/South Brunswick) celebrated Senior Day with his sixth win of the season and 21st of his career. After a rock first inning, he went to strike out four in seven innings of work. Classmate Joe Marchitelli (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) picked up his eighth save of the season pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Freshman Joe Dispoto (Nutley, NJ/Nutley) continues to progress throughout his rookie season collecting two hits and driving in a pair. His two-out, two-run single in the fourth gave the Lions a 4-3.
The big blow in the game came off the bat of Mike Galeotafiore (Brick, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy). The junior catcher cracked a three-run home run in the fifth inning to the stretch TCNJ’s lead to 7-3. It was the third homer of the season for Galeotafiore and 100th RBI of his career.
The Red Hawks drew blood early scoring three runs in the opening frame. Mike Boggi (Towaco, NJ / Montville) doubled to left-center to score Jay Bionde (Pompton Plains, NJ / Pequannock), who had singled. Cody Pace (Milltown, NJ / Spotswood) roped an run-scoring double to right field, and Matt Moreno (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) singled to plate Pace, giving Montclair State a 3-0 lead.
Henderson settled down to throw four straight scoreless inning, enabling the Lions offense to heat up. They cut into the deficit in the third. Back-to-back singles by Kelly and Dispoto put runners at the corners before a groundout by senior Jason Zegarski (Lawrenceville, NJ/Lawrence) put the Lions on the board. Junior Jimmy Ruzich (Verona, NJ/Montclair Kimberly Academy) laced a line drive to left field to score Kelly and make it a 3-2 game.
Dispoto and Galeotafiore gave TCNJ a 7-3 lead through five. The Red Hawks closed the gap with two runs in the sixth, but junior Michael Ham (Sparta, NJ/Pope John XXIII) came on in the eighth to strike out two before handing the ball off to Marchitelli.
Freshman Dylan Papa (South Plainfield, NJ / South Plainfield) (1-2) was the difference in the second game. The left-hander earned his first collegiate win tossing a complete game. Papa scattered six hits, struck out three, and walked none in the game.
The Red Hawks came out swinging in the second game as Mickey McGraw (Morristown, NJ / Morristown) led off with a triple. He scored on a sacrifice fly from Bionde to a quick 1-0 lead.
Jason Chesterman (Bloomfield, NJ / Bloomfield) and Bionde each doubled in the fifth to up 2-0. A pair of TCNJ errors in the sixth led to two more runs and Montclair State was in control 4-0.
The Lions finally broke through off of Papa in the seventh. Galeotafiore doubled to left, advanced to third on a Michael Murphy (Staten Island, NY/Staten Island Tech) single to right, and came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nick Cifelli (Ewing, NJ/Ewing).
McGraw put the game out of reach when he belted a three-run homer to left field in the ninth. He finished the game with a triple, home run, two runs batted in, and scored twice. Pace and Chesterman also finished with two hits.
Murphy had three hits in the second game. Sophomore Robert Graber (Franklin Lakes, NJ/Ramapo) pitched well, but suffered his second setback of the season.