April 6, 2014

SHU Completes Weekend Sweep Of Fairleigh Dickinson, Opens NEC Play 4-0

TEANECK, N.J. – The Sacred Heart baseball team swept its second consecutive doubleheader with Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday at the Naimoli Family Baseball Complex, winning by scores of 3-2 and 9-7. The Pioneers opened Northeast Conference play at 4-0 with their sweep of the Knights.

Game 1 – Sacred Heart 3, Fairleigh Dickinson 2 (7 Innings)

Sacred Heart (13-9, 4-0 NEC) got on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Jesus Medina (New York, N.Y.) and Zach Short (Hurley, N.Y.) each drew walks with one out. After Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, N.Y.) flew out for the second out of the inning, Conor McEvoy (Watertown, Conn.) knock a base hit to center field, scoring Medina to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead. Fairleigh Dickinson (6-15, 0-4 NEC) got the run back in the bottom half of the inning as Riley Moonan drove in Dylan Sprague on a sacrifice fly.

The Pioneers had a chance to break the tie in the top of the third. Medina led off with a bunt single, advancing to second on a balk by the Knights' starting pitcher Ryan MacDonald. He then put himself in scoring position with one out by stealing third. Sullivan then flew out to right field. Medina tagged to go home, but was thrown out by rightfielder Shane Siebler to end the inning. The Knights broke the tie in the bottom of the third inning. Moonan drove in his second run of the game with a single to center, bringing Matt McCann in to score and put FDU up 2-1.

Sacred Heart's pitching shut down the Knights from there. Starter Jason Foley (North Bellmore, N.Y.) and reliever James Cooksey (Norwalk, Conn.) allowed just three hits in the final four innings, getting a double play, a pickoff, and a caught stealing in the process. The Pioneers tied the game 2-2 in the fourth inning on a Jake Friar (Westport, Mass.) double that scored designated hitter Matt Charmello (Rossmoor, Calif.). Charmello then gave Sacred Heart a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, rocketing a triple down the right field line to bring around Keaton Flint (Charlton, N.Y.) to score.

Foley pitched five innings to get the win for Sacred Heart, scattering seven hits while allowing two runs of which one was earned. He struck out four batters while walking one. Cooksey pitched two perfect innings for the save. Medina, McEvoy, and Charmello each went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Game 2 – Sacred Heart 9, Fairleigh Dickinson 7 (9 innings)

Both teams got on the scoreboard in the first inning of the nightcap. Sacred Heart got a two-out infield single from Sullivan, driving in Kenny Byram (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) to make the score 1-0. FDU tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first on a McClure RBI single to right field. The Knights got to Pioneer starting pitcher Nick Leiningen (Millwood, N.Y.) in the second inning, tagging him for three runs to take a 4-1 lead. Nick Morrissey (Howell, N.J.) entered the game in the bottom of the third, holding FDU scoreless with two hits in the next two innings.

The Pioneers rallied in the top of the fifth to tie the game 4-4. With one out and runners on second and third, Keith Klebart smacked a double to left center, clearing the bases to make the score 4-3. Two batters later, Derick Horn ripped a double down the left field line to score Klebart and tie the game 4-4. Sacred Heart took the lead in the top of the seventh when a Horn sacrifice fly drove in Sullivan to make the score 5-4.

Sacred Heart took advantage of three FDU errors in the eighth inning to extend the lead to 8-4. The Knights got two of those runs back off of Morrissey in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 8-6. Morrissey had retired 11 straight batters prior to the eighth when McClure led off with a single. After FDU closed the gap to two on a Sprague two-out, two-run double, Cooksey entered the game and retired Shane Siebler to end the inning. Both teams scored one run in the ninth, as Cooksey closed the door on FDU after allowing a lead-off home run that made the score 9-7.

Klebart was 2-for-3 in game two with three RBI. Horn was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Morrissey got the win for Sacred Heart after allowing two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of relief, striking out five FDU batters. Cookey earned his second consecutive save.

The Pioneers are back in action on Tuesday, April 8 with a 3 p.m. game at Hartford.