March 9, 2012

Baseball Opens 2012 With 5-4 Victory

Junior Mike Cunningham (Syosset, N.Y.) broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth inning with a pinch-hit two out RBI double as the Suffolk University Baseball team opened the 2012 season with a 5-4 victory over the College of New Jersey (3-4 overall) in the RussMatt College Baseball Invitational down in Auburndale, Florida.

Junior Jhonneris Mendez (Boston, Mass.) pitched seven innings allowing two earned runs on eleven hits while striking out four to earn the victory for the Rams. Freshman Eli Libby (Sudbury, Mass.) picked up the save pitching the final two innings for Suffolk.

Cunningham drove a 1-1 fastball off the right field fence to plate junior Mitch Monke (Springfield, Ohio) who kept the inning alive with a two-out single through the right side of the infield. Junior Joe Harvey (Reading, Mass.) then came around to score as a pinch-runner on an RBI flare single to center by sophomore Mac Jacobson (Norfolk, Mass.), which turned out to be the game deciding run.

College of New Jersey scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning as freshman Anthony Cocuzza (Absecon, N.J.) singled with two outs.

Suffolk would answer in the top of the fourth answering with a run as Mendez helped himself leading the inning off with a triple to right center before coming home to score on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Mike Muse (Milton, Mass.).

The Rams built a 3-1 lead in the top half of the fifth inning when sophomore Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass.) plated a pair of runs with a double down the left field line.

The Lions got a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to even the game at three runs a piece taking advantage of a Suffolk miscue. Sophomore Joe Dispoto (Nutley, N.J.) opened the inning with a triple and came around to score on a single by freshman Jacob DeWitt (Florence, N.J.). DeWitt scored the tying run of the game later on an errant throw following a broken up double play in the middle.

New Jersey College threatened in the eighth when Libby entered the game trying to preserve the Suffolk lead. Junior Nick Cifelli (Ewing, N.J.) started the inning with a double before back to back walks would load the bases with one out. Junior Scott Kelly (West Windsor, N.J.) knocked in a run with a ground out to second, but the Lions would leave the go-ahead run in scoring position as Libby escaped any further damage with a flyout to left. Libby pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first collegiate save in his collegiate debut.

New Jersey College collected a dozen hits in the game as a team, but three Suffolk double plays turned proved to be the difference.

Jones and Mendez each had two hits on the day for Suffolk, while junior Chris Stanley (Orange, County, Calif.) also had a pair for the Rams who had 12 hits on the day.

Suffolk will be back in action tomorrow afternoon as they take on Spalding University at 3:00pm in Winter Haven, Florida.

Suffolk 5, College of N.J. 4 (Mar 09, 2012 at Auburndale, FL)
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Suffolk............. 000 120 020  -  5 12  1      (1-0)
College of N.J...... 010 000 210  -  4 12  1      (3-4)
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Pitchers: Suffolk - Jhonneris Mendez; Eli Libby(8) and Dan Belanger; Jack Sullivan.
College of N.J. - Eric Lewis; Dominic Capuano(8); Michael Ham(8) and Mike Galeotafiore.
Win-Jhonneris Mendez(1-0)  Save-Eli Libby(1)  Loss-Eric Lewis(1-1)  T-3:00  A-75
Weather: 80
Game: SUFNJC12

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