FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Senior designated hitter Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.) hit a pair of early three-run home runs and the Felician University baseball team held on to defeat host Nova Southeastern University, 14-10, on Tuesday night at the NSU Baseball Complex.
Nova Southeastern (14-4), which lost for the first time at home in eight starts this season, is ranked No. 1 in the most recent national NCAA Division II writers' poll. The Sharks won the 2016 Division II national championship.
Felician finished with 18 hits on the night. Price was 3 for 6 with six runs batted in, and three teammates – Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J.) (three runs scored), Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J.) and Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.) – also picked up three hits apiece.
"We've been hoping for our offense to regain its form from last year, and tonight it showed up in a big way," said Felician head coach Chris Langan. "We've been saying since day one that it's not an upset when you take the field expecting to win. Our group has a quiet confidence and it's starting to grow."
The Golden Falcons (6-4) used the long ball to take an 8-0 lead after three innings. The lefty-swinging Price launched a three-run shot to left-center in the first. In the third, he hit another round-tripper to left field. Two batters later, junior Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) went deep with a man on.
NSU dented the scoreboard in the fourth on a three-run homer by junior Andrew Liberty (Boca Raton, Fla.). But Felician responded with four runs in the top of the fifth, a rally highlighted by Grant's two-run single. The Sharks, however, chased Golden Falcon starter Drue Brooks (Spring Hill, Fla.) in the home half of the fifth, putting their first two runners on, and eventually also posted a four-spot.
Leading 12-7 after five frames, Felician continued to apply pressure offensively, tallying in the sixth on a Diesel sacrifice fly and adding an unearned run in the seventh. The insurance proved important when NSU struck for three runs on only two hits in the seventh.
Felician called on closer Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J.) (1-1) for the final six outs. Naif pitched a perfect eighth, and retired the first two hitters in the ninth before allowing an infield single and a walk. He then induced a flyout and was credited with the victory.
Diesel drove in three runs and Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.) was 2 for 6 with three runs scored for Felician. Liberty finished 4 for 5 with seven RBI. The game lasted three hours, 41 minutes.
Felician travels to St. Thomas (Fla.) University, the No. 22-ranked team in the NAIA, for a 6 p.m. game on Wednesday.