Big Caccavale Hit Puts Baseball In Win Column

Ralph Caccavale had four hits in a Feb. 20, 2016, split at Hawaii Pacific. (Steven R. Smith)
Ralph Caccavale had four hits in a Feb. 20, 2016, split at Hawaii Pacific. (Steven R. Smith)

WAIPAHU, Hawaii – Felician University used a two-out, two-run go-ahead eighth-inning double from senior second-baseman Ralph Caccavale (Massapequa, N.Y.) and strong relief pitching to earn a 9-6 victory in Game 1 of its non-conference baseball doubleheader with host Hawaii Pacific University on Saturday evening at Hans L'Orange Park. HPU bounced back to win Game 2, 7-3.

The Sharks (7-1) are ranked No. 7 in the most recent NCAA Division II West Region writers' poll.

Felician led, 5-1, after five innings of the day's opening game. But Hawaii Pacific used a six-hit attack to put five runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. The Sharks tied the game on a three-run triple from Tyler Tokunaga (Waipahu, Hawaii), and took the lead on an RBI single by Keola Himan (Ewa Beach, Hawaii).

In the top of the eighth, Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y.) singled with one out, and T.J. Greco (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) drew a walk two batters later. Caccavale followed with a blast into the right-center field gap to plate both runners.

Sophomore Jesus Colon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) worked two innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn the victory for the Golden Falcons. Colon gave way to classmate Danny Naif (Jackson, N.J.) with the tying run on base in the eighth, and Naif retired the side on a strikeout.

Felician (1-2) plated two insurance runs in the ninth on two-out RBI singles from Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.) and Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.). Naif then pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn his first collegiate save. Polgano finished 3 for 4 for the Golden Falcons, who out-hit HPU, 14-12. Tokunaga was 3 for 4 for the Sharks.

The nightcap was tied, 3-3, after two frames, but the Golden Falcons did not score again off of Shark pitcher Ethan Kalin (Bellevue, Wash.) or two relievers. Kalin (1-0) allowed one earned run on eight hits over seven innings, striking out seven Felician batters and walking three.

HPU took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning when Nolan Barraza (San Marcos, Calif.), who had singled, came home on an Austin Inabata (Kapolei, Hawaii) groundout. The score remained 4-3 until the Sharks tacked on two runs in the seventh inning and one more in the eighth.

Caccavale was 3 for 4 and Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.) had a two-run double for Felician. Senior right-hander Dean Loucka (Wood-Ridge, N.J.) started on the mound and was tagged with the loss, yielding four earned runs on three hits in five innings.

The five-game series concludes with a doubleheader on Sunday.