Baseball Wins Third Straight, 13-8

Little Falls, NJ (4/11/08) – Junior leftfielder Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) finished 3-for-4 and belted a two-run home run while senior catcher Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo) went 3-for-5 with two RBI as Montclair State banged out 17 hits and overcame a season-high six errors as the Red Hawks topped Rutgers-Newark, 13-8 in an NJAC baseball contest at Yogi Berra Stadium on Friday.

Senior first baseman Lou Politan (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) and junior third baseman Stephen Piscitello (Haappague, NY / Haupaague) each drove in two runs as the Red Hawks posted their third straight win, improving to 13-9 overall, 6-2 in the NJAC. MSU also earned a split of the season set with Rutgers-Newark avenging a 9-3 loss at Riverfront Stadium on April 3.

Freshman second baseman Matt Connors ( Hasbrouck Heights, NJ / Hasbrouck Heights) was 3-for-5 while junior Christian Diaz ( New Milford, NJ / New Milford) belted a pinch-hit homer in the ninth for the Scarlet Raiders, who fell to a game under .500 both overall and in the league at 12-13-1 and 4-5, respectively. It was just the second loss for Rutgers-Newark in its last seven games (4-2-1).

Rutgers-Newark took advantage of three MSU miscues, all with two out, in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead. Connors collected an infield single and Brian Gill ( Manasquan, NJ / Wall) reached on an error before Anthony Yeswita ( Hasbrouck Heights, NJ / Hasbrouck Heights) walked to load the bases. An error on a ground ball helped Connors score the first run and Doug Ford (Neptune, NJ / Neptune) smacked a two-run single to right that coupled with the third Red Hawk error, cleared the bases for the four-run Scarlet Raider lead.

Montclair State would get half of those runs back in the bottom of the inning as Kloepping singled with two outs and Rob Bowness (Sparta, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) followed with a base hit that put runners on second and third. Piscitello made it three straight hits driving in both as MSU cut the deficit to 4-2.

Montclair would explode for seven runs in the fifth to take the lead. Miller lined a single that hit pitcher Dan Nodarse ( Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) to start the inning. Nodarse would stay in the game, but eight pitchers later, Kloepping connected for his fifth home run of the season, tying the game at 4-4. Bowness followed with a double and eventually scored on an error that put Montclair in front and Jay Bionde’s (Pompton Plains, NJ / Pequannock) single drove in another a the Red Hawks went up 6-4. Politan would draw a bases-loaded walk for the fourth run of the inning and Miller added a two-run single as Montclair went ahead 9-4.

The Scarlet Raiders threatened in the sixth as Matt Halligan ( Livingston, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) singled and Patrick Reitmeyer ( Kearny, NJ / St. Mary’s ( Rutherford)) doubled to open the inning. Reliever Michael Vitale ( Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) retired the next two innings and appeared to escape the jam, but the fifth MSU error allowed Halligan to cross the plate as the Montclair lead was trimmed to 9-5.

Montclair State answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Politan singled home a run with a base hit and Bionde scored a second run sas the throw home skipped away. Politan came home on a wild pitch as the Red Hawks went back up, 12-5. Joe Furnaguera ( Springfield, NJ / Jonathan Dayton) had an RBI in the seventh inning on a fielder’s choice and Gill lofted a sacrifice fly as the Raiders pulled within 12-7 in the eighth. Montclair’s Kevin Cuozzi ( Langhorne, PA / Neshaminy) walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning and Diaz blasted his first home run of the year in the ninth to account for the final run of the contest.

Senior righthander Jairo Mendez ( Kearny, NJ / Kearny) picked up the win as he went the first five innings allowing seven hits and five runs, however none of those runs were earned as six of the eight Rutgers-Newark runs were unearned in the game. Mendez (1-1) struck out one and walked two. Nodarse took the loss as he fell to 1-2.

Piscitello, Politan, Bowness and Bionde each had two hits for Montclair State while Reitmeyer was 2-for-5 for the Scarlet Raiders.

Both teams are back in action on Saturday, April 12 – weather permitting – with NJAC road doubleheaders. The Red Hawks are at Ackerman Park in Ewing, NJ to face The College of New Jersey at Noon.