The College of Staten Island men’s baseball team punched their ticket to their fourth straight CUNYAC Final, scoring a 9-3 win over No. 2 Baruch College as part of winner’s bracket play in the CUNYAC/MCU Men’s Baseball Championship Tournament played at MCU Ballpark in Brooklyn, New York. CSI is now undefeated in the double-elimination tournament, and will take on the winner of Baruch/Lehman College in the Final on Friday, needing to win just a single game, while their opponents will have to knock them off twice. The Dolphins improved to 29-11, while Baruch fell to an even 18-18.
The Dolphins didn’t know it at the time, but the team got all of the scoring it needed in the first inning. The Dolphins sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame, registering six runs on five hits on BC starter Eric Peralta. A Chris Ramanauskas single got the scoring started with an RBI-single that plated Bryan Moreno, who led off with a single and stolen base. With Joseph Palmeri at third base and Ramanauskas at second thanks to another steal, Will DiFede grounded out but was able to bring home Palmeri to make it 2-0. Ramanauskas would score via a Baruch throwing error, and then the floodgates opened with a David Carles RBI-double that scored Robert Bernardo, and James Lewis notched a base hit that scored both Carles and John Baggs. Peralta was able to wiggle out of the inning with consecutive ground balls but the damage was done as CSI was up 6-0 after an inning.
The lead proved comfortable for freshman hurler Michael Fitzpatrick, who allowed just three hits through the first six innings, as Baruch could not move a runner past second base. In the meantime, CSI added another run in the fourth via a Palmeri base hit that scored Dan Lynch, who was hit by a pitch and stole two consecutive bases, part of three on the day for the senior. CSI stole 10 bases total in the game, good for 7th highest all time by CSI in a single game. Later, in the sixth frame, CSI chased Peralta with a two-run sixth inning. Carles would score on a wild pitch after also getting hit and stealing two bags, and later, Moreno hit a liner to score Lynch. After six frames, CSI sported a commanding 9-0 lead.
The brilliant Fitzpatrick finally caught a snag in the seventh inning, letting in a pair of BC runs on a wild pitch and a Daniel Arango RBI-single. Still, Fitzpatrick was able to right the ship in time to finish the seventh up, 9-2. CSI’s Jonathan Aponte yielded another run in the eighth but was quickly supplanted by John Pignatelli, who forced inning-ending double plays in both the eighth and ninth innings to seal the deal.
Fitzpatrick earned the win, going 7.0 innings, allowing two runs five hits, fanning 10, while Peralta took the loss, going 5.1 innings, allowing nine runs, all earned on eight hits, striking out and walking three. CSI out-hit BC, 10-7. CSI’s top of the order of Moreno, Palmeri, and Ramanauskas finished 6-12 at the dish with three RBI and three runs scored.
With one loss apiece, Baruch and Lehman will battle at 7pm on Tuesday evening for the right to face CSI in the CUNYAC Final on Friday at 4pm. CSI need only win one game on Friday to hoist the trophy, while their opponent would have to win twice. CSI’s 29 wins this season equal the second most victories they’ve had in a season, matching their total in both 1991 & 1992. CSI won a record 31 games in 2010.