Ercolano Sac Fly Difference as MSU Edges WPU, 8-7

Little Falls, NJ (4/18/08) – Freshman catcher Mike Ercolano (Vernon, NJ / Vernon Township) lofted a sacrifice fly to bring home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth as Montclair State edged local and conference rival William Paterson, 8-7 in NJAC baseball action at Yogi Berra Stadium on Friday. The victory, MSU’s third straight, gave Red Hawk head coach Norm Schoenig his 600 th career victory.

Junior Ed Kloepping (Pennsville, NJ / Pennsville) drove in three runs as the Red Hawks squandered a five-run lead, but recovered in time to move to 17-11 overall, 9-3 in the NJAC.

John Elia ( Emerson, NJ / Pascack Valley) and Dan Limone ( Teaneck, NJ / Teaneck) each had two RBI for William Paterson, which scored five times in the top of the eighth to tie the game before dropping its second straight decision. The Pioneers are now 21-11 overall, 9-4 in the conference.

Schoenig, who has won more games than ay coach in Montclair State athletic history, reached the milestone as he is now 600-311-10 in his 21 st season at the helm of the Red Hawks.

That victory though would nearly slip away as William Paterson battled back from a 7-2 deficit in the eighth inning. Following an out, Mike Guadagno ( Uppper Saddle River, NJ / Northern Highlands) doubled to left field and Vince Joyce ( Franklin, NJ / Wallkill Valley) and Anthony Perrone ( Midland Park, NJ / Bergen Catholic) each walked to load the bases. Elia would stroke a two-run single to make the score 7-4 and a base hit by Will Courter (Roselan, NJ / West Essex) got the Pioneers within two. After a second-out, Limone singled to right scoring two as William Paterson battled back to tie the game at 7-7.

Montclair State answered in the bottom of the inning as Michael Nunes ( Hazlet, NJ / Raritan) led off with a base hit and stole second. Lou Politan ( Livingston, NJ / Livingston) poked a base hit to left field to put runners at the corners. Ercolano, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning, lifted the first pitch he got into right field scoring Nunes with the eventual game-winning run.

Senior righthander Tim Stringer ( Annandale, NJ / North Hunterdon) came on in the ninth and retired the side in order for his first save of the year. Senior lefthander Enrique Gomez ( Edison, NJ / St. Joseph’s) earned the win in relief for his first decision of the season (1-0). Junior Dan VandeVrede ( Lincoln Park, NJ / Pequannock) took the loss to fall to 4-2.

William Paterson took a 1-0 lead two batters into the game as Limone led off the contest with a triple and scored on Andrue Laguerre’s (Jersey City, NJ / St. Benedict’s Prep) sacrifice fly. MSU responded in the bottom of the first with two runs as Kloepping bounced a single up the middle to give MSU the lead. Kloepping recorded his third RBI in the third on a base hit but William Paterson cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth on another sac fly, this one by James Gregory ( Ramsey, NJ / Ramsey).

In the bottom of the fourth, Montclair extended the lead with four runs. Stephen Piscitello (Hauppague, NY / Hauppague) singled home a run and Montclair got two more when an errant throw on a pop-up bunt got by allowing Rob Clark (Livingston, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) and Piscitello to score. Nunes added an RBI triple as Montclair built its five-run cushion.

Following MSU’s four-run inning, the game was halted as Montclair State honored former William Paterson head coach Jeff Albies, who stepped down as the Pioneers coach in June last year. Albies, won 862 games during his 33 seasons, including 11 NJAC titles, seven regional crowns and the 1992 and 1996 NCAA Division III National Championships.

Nunes finished 3-for-4 while Kloepping, Piscitello, Clark and Kevin Cuozzi ( Langhorne, PA/Neshaminy) each had two for the Red Hawks, who collected 16 in the contest. Guadagno was 3-for-5 with Limone and Courter getting two hits apiece for the Pioneers.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, April 19 with home NJAC doubleheaders. Montclair State hosts Richard Stockton at Yogi Berra Stadium