Baseball Tops No. 10 RPI, 16-11

Troy, NY (4/18/08)Freshman designated hitter Mike Ercolano (Vernon, NJ/Vernon Township) went 4 for 5 with six runs batted in to lead to Montclair State to a 16-11 victory over the 10th-ranked Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) baseball team, this afternoon at Robison Field. With the win the visiting Red Hawks improve to 15-11 on the season, while home side falls to 21-4 overall.

Montclair St. jumped out to a fast start, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings. Leadoff hitter Michael Nunes (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan) reached on an error to lead off the first and advanced to second on a groundout. He then stole third and scored on another RPI miscue, as the throw to third skipped into leftfield. Jeff Miller (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) singled and was driven in on a home run by Rob Bowness (Sparta, NJ/Seton Hall Prep), giving the visitors a 3-0 first inning lead.

After Rensselaer scored two in the bottom of first, the visiting Red Hawks added seven runs in the second. The outburst was highlighted by a two-hit inning from Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville), who singled and scored to lead things off, and later doubled home the final run of the stanza. Andrew Himmelfarb (Nyack, NY/Nyack) also had a big inning, hitting a two-run home run; his third of the year.

RPI fought back to tie the game, plating three in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth. Stevan Slusher (Pedricktown, NJ/Penns Grove) and Matt Muscatiello (Kinderhook, NY/Ichabod Crane) each provided run-scoring doubles in the fifth, with Muscatiello’s two-bagger tying the game at 10 apiece.

Montclair St. took back the lead in the top of the sixth inning on an error, a walk and a base hit loaded the bases for Ercolano. His two-RBI single to left scored two runs, and a third scored on an overthrow, putting the visitors ahead for good a 13-10.

Ercolano drove in two more runs with a double off the fence, as Montclair St. scored three more times in the seventh. Ercolano finished the game 4 for 5 with two doubles, a run scored and six runs batted in. Bowness went 2 for 4 with a home run, two runs and two RBI, while Stephen Piscitello (Hauppauge, NY/Hauppauge) ended the afternoon 1 for 4 with two runs and three RBI.

Winning pitcher Jairo Mendez (Kearny, NJ/Kearny) pitched two innings of relief, allowing three runs on five hits, with a walk and a strikeout. He improves to 2-1 on the year.

RPI sophomore John Dreimiller (Ticonderoga, NY/Ticonderoga) took loss, surrendering six runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk. He also had two strikeouts. Offensively, the Red Hawks were led by Patrick Reardon (Troy, NY/LaSalle Institute) who went 2 for 5 with a double and four RBI.

Montclair State returns to action on Thursday, April 17 as the Red Hawks take on New Jersey City University in a 3:30 pm NJAC matchup at the Gerrity Complex.