Baseball Gets Split with No. 7 TCNJ

Ewing, NJ (4/12/08) – The seventh-ranked Lions of The College of New Jersey hosted the Red Hawks of Montclair State University in George Ackerman Park in a league double header.  TCNJ took the first game 6-5 in 11 innings and MSU took the nightcap, 11-7. TCNJ stands at 22-4 overall and 9-2 in the NJAC, while MSU is now 14-10 overall and 7-3 in the conference. 

GAME #1   TCNJ 6, MSU 5 (11 innings)

The Red Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after senior Michael Nunes (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) lead off with a walk and stole second. Senior Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) doubled and drove in Nunes before junior Stephen Piscitello (Hauppauge, NY/Hauppauge) single to left center and drove in Miller, spotting MSU to a 2-0 lead.

In the third inning, junior Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville) doubled to right field and drove in Miller, who reached with a double down the left line for his second at double in as many at bats. MSU had a 3-0 lead before the Lions answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, junior second baseman Adam Tussey (Brooklawn, NJ/Gloucester) singled to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. TCNJ’s junior short stop Jeff Toth (Parlin, NJ/Sayreville) singled to left center and drove in Tussey. Junior third baseman Vince Mazzaccaro (Gloucester, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) doubled to right field to score Toth and pull the Lions within a run.

In the top of the fifth, the Red Hawks added another run and senior pitcher Mike Oliver (Crosswicks, NJ/Hamilton West) was able to get out of a bases loaded jam. An RBI double off the center field fence by Rob Bowness (Sparta, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) scored senior Lou Politan (Livingston, NJ/Livingston) who had reached on lead-off walk.

Junior Dan Ramos-Dominko (Hampton, NJ/North Hunterdon) came in the game in the top of the sixth in relief of Oliver, with two outs and runners on first and second and struck out struck out Kloepping to end the Red Hawks’ threat.

Oliver worked 5.2 innings with four earned runs off eight hits while walking six and striking out six.

With two outs in the sixth, Chris Esperson (Union, NJ/Union Catholic) reached on fielder’s choice and moved to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Ryan Anzelone (Vernon, NJ/Vernon Township) singled to left field and dove in Esperon and advanced to second on the throw.  MSU’s starter, senior Kevin Dalton (Edison, NJ/Edison) left the game with two outs and a runner on second and was replaced by senior Enrique Gomez (Edison, NJ/St. Joseph’s) who got out of the inning with a ground out to second base. Dalton worked 5.2 innings and gave up three earned runs off nine hits with three strikeouts and two wild pitches.

In the bottom of the seventh, TCNJ would tie the game and take a 5-4 lead after with one out, Tussey singled to left field and Toth added another single to left center. Mazzaccaro reached on an error at short that allowed Tussey to score and tie the game. Senior catcher Rich Gawlak (Plainsboro, NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro-South) singled to left field to drive in Toth and give the Lions the lead and knock Gomez from the game. Gomez, who gave up three hits, an earned run and had a strikeout in 0.2 innings of work and was replaced by junior Michael Streaman (Westfield, NJ/Westfield)

In the top of the ninth with two outs, senior Vincente Medina (North Bergen, NJ/Paramus Catholic) doubled to deep right center and moved to third in a wild pitch. TCNJ intentionally walked Rob Bowness and with Piscitello came to the plate and despite an amazing defensive effort by Toth, Piscitello tied the score with an RBI single over the short stop. Ramos-Dominko got out of the jam and sent the Lions to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.

TCNJ’s senior outfielder Dave Mebs (Cinnaminson, NJ/Cinnaminson) reached on walk in the bottom of the night, before Tussey had a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Toth was intentionally walked putting Mazzaccaro at the plate with one out and runners on second and first and he struck out swinging. Gawlak came to the plate and flew out to left to send the game to extra innings.

Ramos-Dominko worked 3.1 innings for the Lions allowing just one earned run off two hits with a walk and four strikeouts in the no decision. He was relieved in the top of the 10th by junior Eric Gertie (Cinnaminson, NJ/Cinnaminson) who retired the side.

In the bottom of the 11th, Tussey would single to deep center with one out before Toth walked sending Streaman to the bench. Mazzaccaro faced D.J. Cunningham (Florham Park, NJ/Hanover Park) who entered the game and was hit by a pitch to load the bases bringing Gawlak to the plate with just one out. Gawlak singled in the winning run, giving the Lions a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

Streaman worked four innings in relief while making his 12th appearances and took the loss to drop to 0-1, while Gertie earned the win to improve to 3-1 after working two innings with a hit and two strikeouts for the Lions.

GAME # 2 MSU 11, TCNJ 7

MSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first led a two-run homerun by Rob Bowness, his third of the season.  TCNJ added a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Gawlak and a RBI single by senior Bill Kropp (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts).

In the bottom of the second, Toth added a two-run homerun to left center and tied the action as he connected on his team-leading fifth homer of the season.

The tie was short lived as Miller and Piscitello tagged TCNJ’s starting pitcher senior Bob Buskett (Trenton, NJ/Notre Dame) with back to home runs to left field. Two batters later, Bowness went deep to center field to give MSU a 7-4 lead.
MSU’s starter, senior Tim Stringer (Annandale, NJ/North Hunterdon) worked 5.1 innings with six runs, five of which were earned runs off nine hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. Stringer collected the win and is now 2-3 on the year. He was relieved in the game by junior William Traverso (Verona, NJ/Verona) who worked 2.1 innings with an earned run off two hits and a pair of walks and strikeouts.

TCNJ would pull within a run, down 7-6 before MSU tacked on four runs in the top of the eighth inning sending the Lions’ starter, Buskett from the game. MSU would add their lead up 11-6 after eight innings. Buskett went 7.1 innings with 10 earned runs off nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Buskett falls to 4-1 on the year and is now 19-3 on his career, with the two of those losses coming from MSU during his career.

Gertie worked 2/3 of an inning in relief and gave up one earned run off two hits with a walk and a strikeout before senior Brad Kittle (Millville, NJ/Millville) entered the game in the top of the ninth.

At the plate for the Red Hawks on the day Piscitello was 7-12 with four RBIs, while Miller had a 6-10 effort with five runs scored and a pair of RBI’s. Bowness was 3-7 with four RBI’s and two homeruns.

Montclair State returns to action on Tuesday, April 15 as the Red Hawks are back at Yogi Berra Stadium to face Wilmington College (DE) at 3:30 pm.