The College of Staten Island men’s baseball’s team bid towards an NCAA Division III National Championship berth fell short this evening, as the Dolphins dropped a pair of games in the CUNYAC Postseason Tournament that eliminated them from further contention. The Dolphins dropped a 3-0 decision to Stevens Institute of Technology, and then fell, 5-4, to Baruch College in the final game of the evening to exit. CSI finalized their season at 19-16, while both Baruch and Stevens will battle it out for the CUNYAC title on Saturday.
In the opener, the Dolphins could not solve the pitching of sophomore Jayson Yano. The hard-throwing right-hander kept the Dolphins bats quiet, despite the Dolphins countering with a strong effort from sophomore Mike Fitzpatrick. Stevens drew first blood, scratching out a run in the fourth frame. With two out, Yano stole second base to move over to second base and Nick Seiber followed with a booming double down the left field line, easily scoring Yano to open up the game, 1-0.
CSI threatened in the fifth and sixth, but a base-running gaffe by Will DiFede in the fifth cost CSI some momentum, and in the sixth, CSI’s Joe Palmeri fanned looking with runners at second and third. It was that kind of game for the Dolphins, who hardly threatened offensively from there. Meanwhile Stevens scored again when Jonathan Toro came around to score after reaching on an error. Yano then helped his own cause with a sac fly to score Dan Allen. The inning should have been over, so both runs were unearned. It hardly mattered, however, as Yano was sterling on the hill, not allowing a base runner in the final three frames to preserve the complete game shutout.
Stevens out-hit CSI, 8-4, with Seiber leading the way with two hits, going 2-4 with an RBI. Yano allowed the four hits, fanning six. Fitzpatrick took the complete-game loss, allowing three runs (one earned) on eight hits, walking one and striking out another.
That put the onus on CSI to win its next game against Baruch College, an 11-4 winner over John Jay College to stay alive in the tournament. CSI sent Josh Bernstein to the mound while the Bearcats countered with Zach Uher. In the regular season meeting between the two sides, Uher struggled; yielding 11 runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings, but tonight, the big left-hander was up to the challenge.
After a scoreless first frame, Baruch struck first with two runs in the second inning. Bernstein plunked Angel Tejada to start the frame, and after stealing second, was plated by a Philip Loprete RBI-single. Loprete then advanced the third on a wild pitch and then took home on a passed ball, opening up a 2-0 edge. One inning later, Baruch threatened again with runners at second and third base. Nicholas Pomo-Roman was next up at the dish and the Bearcat smashed a bases-clearing single up the middle to open up a 4-0 lead for Baruch before Bernstein would work out of the jam.
But that only told half of the story. In the other half, Uher was sensational, vexing the Dolphins hitters and working quickly. CSI scratched out their first run all day in the third, but after that Uher grounded CSI, allowing just two base runners in the next five innings. CSI saved room for drama in the ninth inning. After Baruch made it 5-1 with a run in the eighth, CSI came alive in the final frame. Palmeri and John Baggs started with singles and Greg Manassa moved Palmeri over to third, gaining first on a fielder’s choice while Baggs was tossed out on the play. Will DiFede followed with an RBI-single, making it 5-2 by scoring Palmeri. After registering an out, Francis Munoz delivered an RBI-single, plating Manassa, and one at-bat later, fellow frosh Anderson Acosta did the same, plating DiFede. Just like that, the Dolphins were down only 5-4 with runners at first and second.
Chris Ramanauskas was next up at bat, and with arms warming in the Baruch bullpen, Uher stayed out there for the Bearcats and saved his best for last. The hurler caught the senior looking at a called strike three, eliminating the Dolphins and sending Baruch into the final.
Five of CSI’s eight hits game in the ninth inning. Will DiFede finished 2-4 at the plate with an RBI and run scored. Bernstein took the loss, tossing seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits, fanning five. Uher earned his first complete game and his first win of the season for Baruch, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and fanning four.
For CSI, the season ends with disappointment but the young Dolphins still have youth on its side. CSI boasted just two seniors in its starting lineup, and 11 of the 13 total players who played today for the Dolphins are freshmen and sophomores.