Staten Island, NY | The College of Staten Island saw their 2019 season come to a close today in game two of the three-game CUNYAC Championship Series with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Baruch College Bearcats. The Bearcats entered the day ahead one game to none in the best-of-three set needing only a single victory on day two of the CUNYAC Baseball Championship to secure the conference title. The Bearcats victory, which improved them to 15-17, not only earned them a CUNYAC Championship and snapped the 16-22 Dolphins streak of consecutive CUNYAC titles at four, but also advances Baruch into a three-game series against the NAC Champion with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
The Dolphins seized an early lead with a pair of runs coming home in the opening frame despite not recording a single hit in the inning. Already leading 2-0, the Dolphins tacked on another in the third to go ahead by three, but this would be the last time CSI registered a run. From there, the Bearcats scored five unanswered, two in the third and three in the fifth, carrying a 5-3 lead all the way to the bottom of the ninth. With two outs and the bases empty, three straight Dolphins reached to put CSI on the verge of another memorable CUNYAC Championship rally, but instead, they stranded the bases loaded to bring their season to an end with a 5-3 loss.
After the Bearcats went down in order to get the game started, CSI loaded the bases against Baruch starter Angel Acevedo in the bottom half of the first on a pair of walks and a hit batter. The struggles for Acevedo didn’t end there as an Anthony DiMarco drew a bases-loaded walk before Andrew Nathan was hit by a pitch to plate the first two runs of the afternoon. Following the hit batter, Acevedo was relieved by Matthew Lawlor who quickly induced an inning-ending ground ball to leave the bases loaded.
The Bearcats stranded a pair in their half of the second and CSI was right back into the run column come the bottom half of inning number two. Back-to-back singles by Nick Falcone and Jett Nouvertne put two on for Domenick Castiglione who drove in the third Dolphins run with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. With CSI leading by three, Baruch got on the board for the first time in the third. A leadoff walk of Angelo Alessandro and a Davic Capellan single set up a sacrifice bunt which moved two into scoring position against Dolphins starter Salvatore Trancucci IV. This brought Jorge Mercado to the plate and he delivered the two-RBI single up the middle which brought the Bearcats to within one, 3-2.
The score remained 3-2 until the sixth when a Conor McCabe single and a walk quickly put two on against Trancucci. This time it was Michael McGroarty coming through with the RBI base hit for Baruch chasing home McCabe to even the score. This brought Kevin Ryan out of the Dolphins bullpen, but Baruch regained the lead on the first pitch he threw with a run coming after CSI failed to record on out on a fielder’s choice ground ball. A failed sacrifice bunt left runners on first and second with one away for Alessandro who single home the fifth Bearcats run to make it 5-3. From here, Ryan settled down on the mound and registered the final two outs on four pitches to limit the damage to three.
The Dolphins remained behind by two in the seventh when they had a great opportunity to get even or potentially take the lead. A single and two more hits batters loaded the bases for CSI prompting a pitching change as Nicholas D’Angelo came on in place of Lawlor who provided 5.2 strong innings of relief for the Bearcats. On the second pitch thrown by D’Angelo, he induced a double-play grounder that brought the seventh innings to close with the score still 5-3.
Baruch had the next big opportunity to score but would go on to strand the bases loaded in the next half inning against Christian Capellan. In the bottom half of the inning, CSI went down 1-2-3 and Baruch once again failed to score in the ninth. This sent the game into the bottom of the ninth with the Dolphins trailing by two and their season on the line. The final half inning did not get off to a promising start as the first two batters were retired, but Domenick Castiglione kept CSI alive with a two-out double. Nathan then drew a walk and Becker singled to move the tying runs into scoring position for Meola. However, the Dolphins season would end here as Meola flew out to end the game with a final score of 5-3.
Trancucci suffered his first loss of the season for CSI as he was charged with all five runs in the game over five-plus innings of work. Matthew Lawlor earned the win with 5.2 innings of relief in which he surrendered only a single run on six base hits. For Baruch, Kemar Deljanin, McGroarty, and Mercado each collected two hits while Nouvertne and Castiglione also had a pair of hits for CSI.
The Bearcats win earns them the opportunity to represent the CUNYAC in another three-game series against the winner of the NAC title with a trip to the NCAA tournament on the line. As for the Dolphins, the defeat ends their streak of four consecutive titles in what will be their final appearance in the CUNYAC Championship as the program anticipates the beginning of a transition into NCAA Division II.