Baseball Bows Out Of NCAA Tournament, Ending Record-Setting Season

(Photo by Omar Jimenez Sr.)
(Photo by Omar Jimenez Sr.)

RINDGE, N.H. – No. 4 seed Felician University bowed out of the 2016 NCAA Division II East Regional Baseball Championship tournament with a 20-5 elimination bracket loss to No. 2 seed Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday morning at Pappas Field. Southern New Hampshire (47-6) is ranked No. 8 in the most recent national D-II writers' poll.

Felician is the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference champion. SNHU earned its NCAA berth by virtue of winning the Northeast-10 Conference title. The Golden Falcons (34-21), who lost back-to-back games for the first time since Apr. 2, won 29 of their final 37 contests. Felician was making its second NCAA Tournament appearance (2014).

Felician completes its 2016 campaign having set program records for wins and winning percentage (.618). Both marks break records set by the 2014 squad, which was 30-20. Junior outfielder Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) went 2 for 5 on Saturday to run his season hit total to 79, breaking the Golden Falcons record of 78 held by Felician Hall-of-Famer Mike Rooth (2006).

On Saturday, the Golden Falcons, the designated home team, fell behind almost immediately. SNHU's Zach Goldstein (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun) drew a leadoff walk off of Felician junior right-hander Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J./Middlesex) (3-3). Junior shortstop Manny Cruz (Wolcott, N.J./Wolcott) followed with a two-run home run. Goldstein added an RBI double in the second for a 3-0 Penmen lead.

Felician left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, and stranded five runners without scoring in the first three innings. It left 10 runners on base for the game.

After SNHU plated an unearned run in the top of the fourth, the Golden Falcons cut their deficit in half with solo home runs by Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and J.R. Meneses (Lake Worth, Fla./Zion Lutheran). But Price (4+ innings, 6 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned runs) and the Felician bullpen could not hold off the Penmen offense. SNHU plated three runs in the fifth, four in the sixth, and thwarted any hopes of a Felician comeback with a six-run seventh.

In total, the Penmen scored in eight of their nine offensive innings. They tallied 19 hits, including 11 for extra bases. Goldstein finished 4 for 5 with three doubles and scored five runs. Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) was 4 for 6 with two doubles and a home run, and Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn./Farmington) went 3 for 5 with a double, triple, and five runs batted in.

SNHU junior right-hander Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass./Xaverian) (10-0) allowed all five Felician runs on 14 hits over eight innings, logging 128 pitches. Price went 2 for 3 with three RBI and Ralph Caccavale (Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge) was 3 for 5 for the Golden Falcons.