Staten Island, NY | The College of Staten Island has no more room for error this season as they dropped game one of the three-game CUNYAC Championship Series to Baruch College by a score of 4-2. With a pair of nine-inning matchups against the Bearcats looming tomorrow, CSI will need to win both games to extend their streak of consecutive CUNYAC titles to five. The Bearcats can end the day early with a game one victory, but a Dolphins win would force a winner-take-all game three to decide the 2019 CUNYAC Championship.
Both teams got on the board early as Baruch scored two in the bottom of the first before CSI answered with two runs of their own in the next half inning. With the score even at 2-2, the Bearcats took a fifth-inning lead on a Jorge Mercado single and added one more on another single by Kemal Deljanin to make it 4-2. CSI would strand a pair in the eighth and would eventually bring the tying run to bat in the ninth, but they were ultimately shut out over the final seven innings in the 4-2 loss.
Baruch wasted no time getting ahead against Dolphins starter John Esposito as a leadoff Davic Capellan single, an error, and a sacrifice bunt quickly moved two into scoring position. A Conor McCabe RBI-single opened the scoring for the Bearcats chasing home Capellan before a groundout brought home the second run of the game from third to make it 2-0.
The Dolphins responded quickly in the top half of the second as back-to-back base hits, a single by Andrew Nathan and a bunt single by Sean Becker, put the first two CSI batters on. An attempted sacrifice by Nick Meola failed and Nathan was thrown out at third for the first out. However, senior Anthony DiMarco picked up his fellow senior and connected on a two-RBI double to deep left center evening up the score at 2-2.
Neither team mounted any significant scoring threat again until the top of the fourth when CSI got another leadoff base hit, this time a single by Becker. Becker quickly advanced to second on a passed ball and Nick Meola walked to put two Dolphins on. Another failed sacrifice erased Becker trying to move up to third and consecutive strikeouts by Bearcats starter Paul Sirakowski left two runners on for CSI.
It was in the fifth that Baruch regained the lead for good with a two-out rally that brought home a pair. A four-pitch walk of Capellan and a passed ball put a runner on second with two away for Nicholas Valeriano. Another error allowed Valeriano to reach and moved Capellan to third setting up a go-ahead RBI single off the bat of Jorge Mercado to put Baruch ahead 3-2. Two more singles by Conor McCabe and Deljanin chased home the fourth Bearcats run and put them back in front 4-2.
The Bearcats picked up back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth, but both runners were ultimately stranded. CSI would also go on to strand a pair in the eighth following a single and a walk while the Bearcats failed to add any insurance the rest of the way sending the game into the ninth, 4-2. With the Dolphins down to their final out, Michael Crocco was hit by a pitch bringing Joseph Manzi to the plate as the tying run. However, Crocco was retired on one pitch and with that, the Dolphins fell behind in the best-of-three series 1-0.
Despite another strong effort on the mound in which he allowed only one earned run, Esposito suffered the loss falling to 4-4. Paul Sirakowski picked up the win in a complete-game effort allowing two runs, both earned, on seven hits while striking out eight. Sean Becker was 3-for-3 while both Andrew Nathan and Anthony DiMarco had two hits of their own. For the Bearcats Mercado, McCabe, and Deljanin all drove in a run with Capellan, Mercado, and McCabe each collecting two hits.
Now in possession of a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three CUNYAC Championship, the Bearcats can earn the title with a victory in either game tomorrow. CSI will need a two-game sweep of tomorrow’s matchups to secure the CUNYAC Championship and set up a meeting with the NAC Champion.