Myrtle Beach, SC | The College of Staten Island baseball squad managed a split in afternoon play at the Cal Ripken Experience games this afternoon.  The Dolphins dropped a heart-breaking, 7-5, decision in extra innings against Chatham University in the opener, but bounced back lately for a 14-6 victory in the nightcap.  CSI finished their spring swing with a 3-2 overall mark, while the Cougars began their week with a 1-1 record.

In the opener, the Dolphins stormed back from down 5-1 to force a tie going into extra frames, but there, the Cougars scratched two across in the eighth to take the win in their opening game of the season.  In Game Two, the Dolphins were on top from the get-go, and after a flurry by CU, CSI added plenty of insurance en route to a lop-sided final score.

After a scoreless duel through the first twi innings between CSI hurler Joseph Titta and CU’s Connor Paul, the Cougars struck first in the third inning.  Caleb Lehman tripled to start the inning, and after a walk to Ryan Shawley,  Hunter Swartzz laced a double scoring Lehman to open the scoring.  With Shawley moved to third, Paul Nussbaum tallied a sac fly to make it a 2-0 game.  

CSI got one of the runs back in their turn of the third, as Jett Nouvertne, who led off the inning by getting plunked, came around to score after a walk, an error, and then a Nicholas Meola sac fly.  CU, however, returned the facor and then some, adding two more runs in the fourth, highlighted by back-to-back singles from Lehman and Shawley, chasing Titta in favor of reliever Kevin Ryan.  After CSI’s bats were silenced in the fifth, Chatham made it 5-1 in the 5th on a Drew Brannon double.

Down to their final nine outs, CSI then began to rally.  Domenick Castiglione started things off in the fifth with a double, and after advancing to third was plated by an Andrew Nathan sac fly.  Meola followed by earning a walk against Paul, and Steven Collica towered a double to left-center to make it 5-3.  CU went to the bullpen and Bryan Crawford was able to wiggle out of the rest of the inning to keep it at 5-3.

In an eventful top of the sixth, Ryan was able to get out of another jam, leaving two CU runners on base.  CSI then was at the plate and drew closer.  Meola again did the honors, doubling in Castiglione who was walked.  With Nathan at third, Meola at second and Collica walked to load the bags, Crawford then forced a groundout to end the frame with CU still holding a 5-4 edge.

After Chatham left another two runners on base, CSI had their final turn at the plate and saved more drama for the final inning.  John Pomerico started with a walk, and then later, with two outs, Jett Nouvertne legged out an infield hit.  Castiglione then stroked an RBI-single to left to tie the game at 5-5.  With Nouvertne now at second and Castiglione at first, CSI had a chance to win the game with Nathan at the plate, but a deep fly ball to right field ended the threat.

That brought the game into extra frames and CU needed only the eighth to win the game, plating two runs.  Swartzz walked with one out to start the inning, and then Nussbaum walked as well against reliever Eric Benedetto.  Jonathan Scarsella followed, and belted a double into right-center plating both runners for the difference.

CSI did not go quietly in their turn of the eighth.  Robert Miglino started with a single, and was erased on a Collica fielder’s choice.  Salvatore Trancucci was then hit by a pitch.  A groundout followed to move the baserunners to second and third, but reliever Adam Cerar finally made the decisive pitch, forcing Michael Ciancio into a fly out to right field to officially and the threat and the game at 7-5.

Cerar got the win with two innings of relief, while Benedetto took the loss with his two innings of relief, allowing two earned runs with a trio of strikeouts and walks.  Both teams finished with 10 hits apiece.  Lehman finished 3-4 at the plate witha  run scored and a RBI.  Shawley and Scarsella laced two hits each.  Castiglione had the only multi-hit game for CSI, going 2-3 with two walks, a RBI, and two runs scored.

CSI would get even in the second game, as the runs came early and often, as the Dolphins lineup gave freshman pitcher Garcia a nice cushion to work with.  They started in the second frame, when Sean Becker, who tripled with two outs, came in to score on a wild pitch, coinciding with a Ciancio walk.  CSI then opened things up a little wider in the third when Collica ripped a two-RBI double to score both Nathan and Castiglione.  With Collica now at second base, Becker strick again with a double, easily plating Collica to make it 4-0 againt CU starter Shawley.

After Garcia ripped through CU in the third, CSI started the fourth with three more runs to open up a 7-0 lead, highlighted by a two-RBI Castiglione double, scoring Anthony DiMarco and Nick Falcone.  Castiglione then came in on a Meola double, rounding out the scoring.  CU did return the favor in their turn of the fourth, as Tanner Klein laced a three-run homer over the short porch in left field to make it 7-3 before Garcia got out of the frame with no other damage.

That did not seem to faze the Dolphins lineup, as they continued to do damage in the fifth.  becker doubled again and was plated by a Michael Crocco single.  Ciancio then came in from third when Crocco stole second base, making it 9-3, and Crocco then scored the same way when DiMarco stole second after singling as well.  That game CSI a 10-3 lead.

Crocco would strike again the next inning, erasing a two-run CU fifth with a base-clearing, three-RBI, double down the left field line, making it 13-5.  Garcia allowed an unearned run in the sixth to make it 13-6, but CSI got the run back in their turn of the seventh when Castiglione scored on a Brennan RBI-groundout.  CSI reliever Russell Braccia came on in the seventh for CSI, retiring the Cougars in order to preserve CSI’s 14-6 margin of victory.

Garcia’s first collegiate win went six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits.  Shawley took the loss, tossing 4.1 innings, allowing 20 runs, all earned on 12 hits, walking three and fanning one.  CSI out-hit CU, 14-11, as Becker laced three hits and Crocco, Castiglione and Collica each had a pair.  Swartzz and Scarsella each had two hits for CU.

With their Spring Training trip complete, CSI will now look to get back to their schedule this coming weekend, when they are slated to host Manhattancille College on Saturday at 12 Noon at the CSI Baseball Complex.