The College of Staten Island men’s baseball squad staged an improbable comeback, coming from 13 runs behind and scoring an unanswered 21 runs in their final four innings, to score a lop-sided 21-13 win over visiting Manhattanville College in a single, non-conference, contest played at the CSI Baseball Complex. The Dolphins lifted their record to 17-9 overall, winning their fifth straight, while the Valiants fell to 8-18.
If the early innings were any indication, then it was sure to be a long day for the Dolphins, who allowed 10 runs on nine Valiant hits with two errors after the game’s first two frames, as the visitors extended to a 10-0 lead. Johnny LoVetere plated leadoff hitter Jordanis Nunez for the Valiants to start the damage with one out in the first, and two batters later, an infield base hit by John Bucci off of CSI starter Robert Jannace made it 2-0. Bucci then came in on a Nate Trashansky double, making it 3-0 before Jannace would work his way out of the frame.
After the Dolphins went down in order in their turn of the first, MC added seven runs in the second frame. Three consecutive singles started the frame, and then a CSI error allowed a second run to cross. Sean Ferguson followed with a sac fly to make it 6-0, before Trashansky struck again with a two-RBI single that would score Bucci and LoVetere. With the score 8-0 Jannace was lifted in favor of Jonathan Aponte, but the reliever was victimized with two unearned runs thanks to another CSI error and an RBI-single by Elias Tsouristakis. At the end of two, CSI was down, 10-0.
Aponte was able to keep the potent offense in check for a pair of innings before giving up three runs in the fifth inning, aided by another pair of CSI errors. Nunez would score when Nick Euvino’s base hit got past CSI right fielder Will DiFede. A Ferguson RBI-single then plated Euvino, and then Ferguson came in when CSI centerfielder Dan Lynch dropped a fly ball hit by Bucci. Going into their turn of the fifth, the Dolphins were in a 13-0 hole.
Then it all changed.
MC starter Brian Lobel, who pitched a sterling four innings to start the game, ran into a jam in the fifth. The Dolphins plated three consecutive singles by John Baggs, David Carles and Dan Lynch, with Baggs coming in to score CSI’s first run. Then stepped up Bryan Moreno, who laced a towering shot to deep left-center field, chasing home Carles and Lynch to make it 13-3. Lobel would settle in time to retire the next three batters, leaving Moreno stranded at third base.
To start the sixth frame, CSI gave the ball to reliever Chris Matusiewicz, who squeezed his way out of a jam unscathed after allowing a pair of base runners in the top of the frame. MC handed their ball then to Donny Pitasi, but the Valiants reliever had far little success. Three batters in, the bases were loaded thanks to walks to Robert Bernardo and Baggs and a single by Joseph Cespuglio. Carles then sliced a single through the middle to plate a pair of runs and cut the lead to 13-5. With Baggs at third, Lynch then grounded out to shortstop, but Baggs scored to make it 13-6. Pitasi then was errant again, walking both Moreno and Joseph Palmeri to load the bases again. The Valiants then went to their bullpen inserting southpaw Zach Zareva to pitch to Chris Ramanauskas. After a long at-bat, the junior blooped an RBI-single to left field, cutting the lead to 13-7.
The turning point then came in the next at-bat. With the bases loaded, sophomore DiFede then hit a routine ground ball with double play potential to second base, but MC’s Kurt Hommen saw the ball bounce off of his glove and instead of the Valiants potentially getting out of the inning, CSI would score a run and would leave the bases jammed with one out.
The Dolphins took advantage.
Bernardo turned on a Zareva pitch to score a two-RBI single, advancing to second on the play and making it a 13-11 game. After registering an out, another MC infield error off of the bat of John Baggs allowed Bernardo to come home, making the score, 13-12. Zareva was able to get Carles out on strikes to end the sixth inning with MC still ahead, but by then, momentum had clearly shifted.
After Matusiewicz worked through a quick seventh, CSI went on the offensive again. Lynch punched a leadoff double down the left-field line, and one batter later, Moreno took his place with an RBI-double to left-center, tying the game at 13-13. Palmeri reached base on an infield single, moving Moreno over to third base. With runners at the corners, Ramanauskas then drove in the eventual game-winning run with an RBI-single to plate Moreno, giving CSI the dubious 14-13 advantage. DiFede then came to plate and poked another RBI-single to left-center. That lifted Zareva in favor of reliever Julian Ponce. The right-hander delivered, getting CSI down in order to keep the Valiants with distance, now trailing, 15-13.
Perhaps equally impressive to CSI’s hitting was the work of Matusiewicz, who again worked quickly, facing only four batters in the eighth to once again give his teammates a chance to do damage at the dish. In the eighth, the Dolphins added the punctuation mark it needed. Carles earned on with a walk, and promptly came around to score on a MC error on what should have been a sac bunt put down by Lynch. Lynch got to third on the play and was brought in on a Moreno double down the left-field line, making it a 17-13 game. Palmeri then followed with an RBI single, tallying home Moreno. After Ramanauskas singled to put runners at the corners, MC went to their bullpen again, inserting Ryan Blinderman. DiFede answered with a sac fly to left, scoring Palmeri. After Ramanauskas took second on a wild pitch thrown by the submarine-style pitcher, Cespuglio poked a seeing-eye single through the middle of the infield, scoring Ramanauskas to make it 20-13. Two batters later, CSI finalized the scoring with a Carles double to left field, scoring Cespuglio to make it 21-13.
The cushion proved plenty for CSI, who brought in Richard Anderson to pitch the ninth. The senior allowed a two-out base hit to LoVetere before forcing a Bucci groundout to end the game.
The Dolphins’ 21 runs were a season high, as were their 20 hits. Ramanauskas finished the evening 4-6 at the dish with two RBI and a pair of runs scored, while Moreno and Carles each tallied three hits, with Moreno adding four RBI. Matusiewicz took the win, pitching three innings of relief, allowing no runs on three hits, walking one. MC scattered 17 hits in defeat, with Euvino and Bucci each tallying a trio of hits. Zareva was credited with the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) in two-third of an inning pitched.
The Dolphins are next in action on Saturday, April 13, when they host the City College of New York for a single, nine-inning game, at the CSI Baseball Complex, in a scheduled 11:45am start.