(Bridgeport, CT) – Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NY)pitched a complete game for his first career victory in a 4-1 game one win, but the Sacred Heart Pioneers fell 9-8 in game two for a doubleheader split with the Long Island University Blackbirds Sunday afternoon at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
Leiningen went seven innings, scattering three hits and allowing just one unearned run with three strikeouts and three walks. Tyler Jones knocked in LIU's only run with a sacrifice fly in the third, but SHU game back with a two out rally to tie the game the next half inning. MJ Schifano (Monroe, NY) fought off a couple of two-strike pitches before singling to keep the inning alive. After stealing second, Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) drove him in with an opposite field single to right.
The Pioneers took the lead in the fourth, taking advantage of a bases-loaded two-out error by LIU first baseman Tito Marrero. He booted a groundball by Dan Perez (Seymour, CT), allowing two runs to score. Schifano followed with an RBI single to center to make it 4-1.
In game two, Pete Leonello's bases-loaded two-run double in the eighth regained LIU an 8-7 lead. The Blackbirds added another when Brad Grieve raced home on a passed ball to make it a three-run inning to give the Blackbirds a two-run lead. The Pioneers took the lead on a two-run single by Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY) in the seventh. It appeared Griffith was going to deliver again in the ninth when he drove a towering shot to deep left centerfield with two on in the ninth, but his bid for a three-run walkoff homerun died at the base of the wall for a sacrifice fly. SHU would get no closer, as Evan Zerff completed a two-inning save by stranding the tying run on base for the Pioneers.
Sacred Heart tied the game in the fourth with two runs on a Dave Boisture (Highland Mills, NY) RBI double to right and run-s coring error. However, as they did throughout the game, LIU answered to retake the lead the half inning later with two runs on Tyler Jones' RBI triple and sacrifice fly by Drew Walsh.
The Pioneers opened the scoring in the first when Tedesco came home on a double play by JJ Edwards (Endwell, NY). LIU came back with three in the second on four straight two-out hits, including an RBI single by Leonello and a two-run single by Sam Sciamarelli. Connor McEvoy (Watertown, CT) cut the deficit to 3-2 with a two-out RBI single to centerfield in the bottom of the second.
Sacred Heart plays next at Iona Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.