Baseball Tops St. Thomas, Edged By Stonehill In 10

Rob Naughton allowed two hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings in a Mar. 5, 2017, win at St. Thomas. (Dave Schofield)
Rob Naughton allowed two hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings in a Mar. 5, 2017, win at St. Thomas. (Dave Schofield)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Felician University baseball team split a pair of non-conference games on Saturday afternoon at Paul Demie Mainineri Field on the campus of St. Thomas (Fla.) University. The Golden Falcons defeated the host Bobcats, 4-1, before dropping a 3-2, 10-inning decision to Stonehill College

St. Thomas (14-7) is ranked No. 12 nationally in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Senior outfielder Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.) went 5 for 7 on the day for Felician (5-4).

Felician senior right-hander Rob Naughton (Levittown, N.Y.) (1-0) started and worked seven innings in the victory over the Bobcats. He gave up one run on two hits, struck out a career-high nine batters, and walked two.

The Golden Falcons staked Naughton to an early lead. Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J.) led off the game with a single and advanced to third base one out later on Jason Polgano's (Bronx, N.Y.) double to center field. Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.) followed with a two-run single.

Felician chased STU pitcher Alex Perez (Miami, Fla.) with two more runs in the third. The visitors loaded the bases with none out when two walks sandwiched a LaMura single. The next two batters struck out, but freshman catcher Armando Ovalles (Union City, N.J.) picked up his teammates with a two-run single to left.

Naughton carried a no-hitter into the sixth and a shutout into the seventh, when St. Thomas tallied its only run on a Daniel Lowry (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) sacrifice fly. Quinn Taylor (Marlton, N.J.) retired the first two hitters in the eighth, and Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J.) picked up the final four outs for his second save.

LaMura went 3 for 5 and Grant and Strickland had two hits apiece for Felician.

Against Stonehill (2-5), the Golden Falcons had trailed, 2-1, since the fourth inning before tying the game in the bottom of the eighth when Polgano, who had doubled, came home on a two-out error. Felician put the leadoff man on in the ninth but never moved him, forcing extra frames.

Felician turned to Naif (0-1) again to start the top of the 10th, but Tyler Carey (Raynham, Mass.) greeted him with a single and stole second base. One out later, after Ben Monte (New Haven, Conn.) was hit by a pitch, Carey and Monte executed a double steal, with Carey continuing home on a throwing error.

After escaping further damage, the Golden Falcons put their first two runners on base in the home half. The Skyhawks turned to senior righty Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Mass.) who induced a fielder's choice grounder, with Stonehill obtaining the force at third. Solomon struck out the game's final two hitters for his second save of 2017.

Starting pitchers Jeremy Roberts (Reading, Mass.) (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 SO) of Stonehill and Felician's Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.) (6 IP 7 H 2 ER 5 SO) each settled for no decisions. Jesus Colon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) pitched three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief for the Golden Falcons, while the Skyhawks' Michael White (Stamford, Conn.) (1-1) earned his first career victory by hurling a scoreless ninth.

Grant was 3 for 4 for Felician. Stonehill's Carey went 2 for 5 with three stolen bases.

Felician is off on Monday before traveling to Nova Southeastern University, the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II, on Tuesday.