LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – After dropping game one 4-2 due to a seventh inning rally, the Sacred Heart baseball team came back with 14 hits in a 7-4 game two victory for a doubleheader split on Sunday at Rider. Momentarily dropping below .500 following the opening loss, the Pioneers ended the day at 13-13.
Jayson Sullivan went 5-8 with three runs scored in the two games, and with a single in the fourth inning of game one, he became the seventh Pioneer in school history to reach 200 career hits. Zack Short also scored three runs, adding four RBI's on three extra base hits, including a two-run homer to in the eighth inning of game two.
SHU preps for its return to Northeast Conference play next weekend with a midweek matchup with Yale on Tuesday at 3:30 pm against Yale.
For much of the early afternoon, it looked as if Zack Short's sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth that scored Jayson Sullivan, who had singled to lead off the inning, would hold up for Sacred Heart starter Jason Foley. Foley had a no hitter through 4.2 innings, with the lone blemish a hit by pitch in the second. Christian Estevez broke up the no hitter with a double down the left field line with two outs in the bottom of the fifth but was stranded, and Foley would go on to work his fourth 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.
Despite a lead off single and a one out walk in the bottom of the seventh, Foley was one out away from a seventh scoreless inning after a fly out for the second out. He would walk Estevez though, loading the bases for Riley Mihalik, who delivered the big blow with a double to left center to clear the bases and just like that the Broncs had a 3-1 lead.
Mike Lembo would come on for the final out of the inning but at that point it was too late, as SHU could not make anything of a two-out single by Jesus Medina in the eighth. Jeff Stoddard worked around a lead off single and one out walk in the eighth before Rider got yet another RBI double, this time from Mike Volaski to extend the advantage to four. The Pioneers got an unearned run in the ninth on Jake Friar's RBI ground out and had the tying run come to the plate with two outs, but Vincenzo Aiello recorded his seventh strikeout of the afternoon to put the stamp on a complete game.
Aiello opposed Foley with by allowing just the lone earned run in the fourth. He walked just one against those seven strikeouts and gave up six hits. Aside from the fourth and the ninth, the only other inning Sacred Heart had a runner reach scoring position was in the second when Short led off with a double.
Foley on the other hand ended with a final line of 6.2 innings pitched, three hits, six strikeouts and two walks. The bases clearing double ended his scoreless innings streak at 17.1 innings.
In a game with just 11 combined hits, Sullivan was the lone player with multiple base knocks, finishing 3-4 for his third three-hit performance of the season. In addition to his second inning double and sacrifice fly, Short also walked and stole a base. Estevez and Lee Lipinksi all had a hit and base on balls for Rider.
Five Pioneer had multi-hit efforts in the nightcap, including freshman Louie Canjura registering the first two hits of his career. Also with two hits were Sullivan, Short Cody Doyle and Alex Perry. Sullivan, Short and Ted Shaw each scored two runs, with Sullivan also walking twice and Short driving in three.
After Rider scored the opening run thanks to a Sacred Heart error in the second, and the Pioneers came back to tie it on Jesus Medina's RBI ground out in the third, Sullivan and Short combined to give SHU the lead for good in the fifth. Sullivan led off with a double and scored the go-ahead run on Short's double, with Short making a heads up play to take third on the throw home. That proved important when he was able to come in easily on Keith Klebart's ground out in the next at bat.
Sacred Heart pushed that lead to four in the sixth beginning with back-to-back singles by Canjura and Perry, the latter of which was a bunt. Despite Canjura being thrown out at third for the first out following a grounder, Medina knocked in his second run of the day with a single to right field. The Pioneers were then the beneficiary of a Rider error for the second run, extending the inning and the advantage to 5-1.
Rider came back with two runs of its own in the bottom half, and it could have been more if not for Anthony Capozziello throwing out a runner at home for the second out. Medina replaced Sostarich with one out and Broncs on first and second, and the first batter he faced, Tyler Kaiser, singled to Capozziello in right field. The outfield assist proved even more important when Volaski singled in the next at bat to load the bases for James Locklear, who came through with the two-out, two-RBI single up the middle to make the score 5-3. With the tying runner on base, Medina escaped further trouble with a ground out.
That score remained in tact until the eighth when once again it was the duo of Sullivan and Short coming through for SHU. Sullivan singled with one and Short sent his two-run homer over the left field fence. Kaiser hit a solo home run with two outs in the eighth but that was the lone runner to reach base on Medina in the final two innings.
Kaiser was one of two Broncs with two hits, the other being Volaski, and he also scored three runs. C.J. Hirschy was tabbed with the loss after giving up four earned in six innings.