The College of Staten Island men’s baseball team made their redemption song complete this afternoon, and after dropping the opening game of the 2017 CUNYAC double-elimination tournament, they completed the comeback with 6-3, and 5-0 wins over Baruch College to secure the title for the third straight year and 19th time overall.  The wins improved CSI to 27-11-1 while the Bearcats finished 17-19.

Before the Dolphins could play for the chance to defend their crown, they needed to beat Baruch a first time in the matinee contest and indeed the chips were stacked against them, going against one of the CUNYAC’s premier pitchers in Baruch senior Cameron Kitt.  The Dolphins gave the ball to senior Ryan Kennedy and the two matched wits for five scoreless innings before the typical Baruch-CSI intensity picked up and made for a dramatic finish.

Before that, though, the game breezed along.  A total of just five runners were left on base through the first 20 half innings leading into the sixth frame.  There, Baruch threatened, loading the bases on Kennedy thanks to an error and singles by Jasdeep Buttar and Edwin St. Hilaire.  But Kennedy responded by getting Donovan Hunt to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

Then it was CSI’s turn, and they got a break when Jett Nouvertne laced a hit down the right field line.  The ball was misplayed in right field, allowing the CSI speedster to skate all the way home for an unconventional 1-0 lead.  Baruch got out from there, but after Kennedy retired the Bearcats 1-2-3 in the seventh, CSI doubled their lead in the seventh when a two out error after a Bobby Drake single allowed Josh Mercado to score all the way from first base, making it 2-0.

That set the stage for a wild finish.  In the eighth, Buttar got things started with a two-out double.  That chased Kennedy for James Taunton, but Taunton would not last as St. Hilaire would add a two-out single to score Buttar and then CSI committed an error to put runners at first and third with two out.  That brought in Jason Failla, who would try to record a four-out save.  But Baruch had other plans, and Hunt singled to score two runs and give Baruch a shocking, 3-2, advantage.

With full momentum, things look ominous for CSI, but the Dolphins stayed poised, and in the eighth both Nouvertne and Frank Sconzo started with walks, and they were moved to second and third via an Anthony DiMarco sacrifice.  That brought up Nick Meola, who laced a single into center field, scoring two runs to give CSI back the lead, 4-3.  They were not done there, as Frank Muzzio doubled in Meola and then Glenn Glennerster lifted a single to score Muzzio to give CSI the shocking 6-3 lead.  That lifted an ailing Kitt from the game, but the damage had been done.  In the 9th, Failla did not disappoint.  He would plunk Angel Acevedo to start the frame but then put down the BC lineup in order to end the game and force a final winner-take-all game for the Championship.

CSI out-hit Baruch in the opener, 8-7, with Glennerster going 2-4 with an RBI.  Buttar did the damage for Baruch going 3-5 with a run scored in the contest.  Failla grabbed the win, while Kitt took the defeat.

In an almost carbon copy of the opener, game two of the Final was about a pitcher’s duel for the opening five innings, this time pitting CSI sophomore Chris Karnbach with BC’s Ryan Warner.  Both pitchers were superb through five, retiring batters and wriggling out of danger when the bases were occupied.  Only once did a team get a runner to third base, with CSI doing that in the second frame, only to see Warner force a Jett Nouvertne ground-out to end the threat.

The game then moved into the sixth, and again, CSI pounced first.  Karnbach got the Dolphins out unscathed in the top half and then CSI went to work in the bottom half.  Meola got things started with a single and then stole second after a Muzzio fly out.  Glennerster then singled to put runners at the corners, giving way Josh Mercado.  The second baseman hit a high chopper to shortstop, but Meola raced home, and beat out a throw at the plate that sailed wide, giving CSI a 1-0 lead.  After an out, Warner hit Jordan Wilson to load the bags, bringing up Nouvertne for the second time in the game with a runner at third.  

This time, the freshman came through.  Nouvertne screamed a single up the middle, scoring two to give CSI a huge, 3-0, lead after six frames.  

From there, it was all about the tenacity of Karnbach on the hill.  The sophomore yielded two hits in the seventh, but with one out, he got Hunt to strike out looking and Acevedo to line out to end the inning.  Again, fueled by their defense CSI took the momentum into the seventh and popped in another two runs, this time highlighted by a Mercado RBI-single and a Drake RBI double to score Glennerster, making it 5-0.

A Baruch base runner was erased via a double play in the eighth and the Bearcats were down to their last three outs.  Head Coach Michael Mauro entrusted the 9th inning to Karnbach and again, after yielding a lead-off single, he would settle to retire the side, striking out Dan Daley to secure the win, giving CSI the resounding win in unprecedented come-from-behind fashion.

CSI out-hit Baruch, 11-8, in the second game, led by Meola, was named CUNYAC Most Valuable Player with a 3-5 performance with two runs scored in the game.  Glennerster went 3-3 with two runs scored as well, while Karnbach went 9 full innings, fanning three in the shutout win.  Warner took the loss for Baruch, going 6.2 innings allowing 10 hits and walking two.

The win lifted CSI to 27 wins, the most since the team registered 31 in 2013, tied for the fifth-highest total in team history.  It was the third-straight title for CSI and their sixth in the last eight years.  Their 19 overall titles ties them with softball for the most in any sport in CSI history and is the most titles won by a CUNYAC program.