LANTANA, Fla. – Junior left-hander Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y.) pitched eight strong innings and senior right fielder Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.) went 4 for 5 with three extra-base hits as the Felician University baseball team concluded its seven-game trip to south Florida with a 12-3 victory over Caldwell University during the Palm Beach Challenge at the Santaluces Athletics Complex.
The game was a non-league contest between the two Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference members.
During Felician's six-run ninth-inning, senior catcher Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J.) and junior left fielder Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) singled on consecutive plate appearances. For both players, it was the 100th base hit of their Golden Falcon careers. They became the 31st and 32nd players in the 18-year history of the Felician baseball program to reach that milestone.
The game was tight for six innings, with Polgano out-dueling Caldwell junior Justin Picinic (River Vale, N.J.) (0-1). Felician, the designated visiting team, reached Picinic for a run in the third inning on an RBI single by Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J.). The Golden Falcons (7-5) tallied again in the fourth when Grant led off with a triple and scored one out later on a sacrifice fly by Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.).
Polgano (1-1), meanwhile, retired his first nine batters, including five via strikeout. He faced two batters over the minimum through six frames before his offense added some insurance in the late innings against the Cougar bullpen.
Mike Martone (Brick, N.J.) delivered a two-run single in the top of the seventh to make it 4-0. In the eighth, Felician put runners at the corners on a Grant double and an single by Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.). Both runners advanced on a passed ball, and Kleinstein gave Felician a 6-0 edge with a run-scoring double.
The only blemish on Polgano's line came in the bottom of the eighth on a two-out RBI double by Ryan Rivera (Saddle Brook, N.J.). Polgano gave up six hits over eight innings, struck out six Cougars, and walked none.
In the ninth, Grant delivered an RBI triple and continued home on an error. Three batters later, Kleinstein and Diesel produced their milestone hits, the latter driving in a run. J.R. Meneses (Lake Worth, Fla.) blasted a two-run triple, and Garrett Luna (Lodi, N.J.) capped the rally with a sacrifice fly. Caldwell came up with two runs against the Golden Falcon bullpen in the bottom of the ninth for the final margin.
Diesel finished 3 for 5. Kleinstein, LaMura and Strickland had two hits apiece in Felician's 16-hit attack.
Felician's scheduled games against the University of New Haven on Sunday in West Haven and on Tuesday in Lyndhurst have already been postponed for weather-related reasons.