NORRISTOWN, Pa. – Senior third baseman J.R. Meneses (Lake Worth, Fla.) was 2 for 3 and drove in four runs to lead Felician University to a 7-3 Game 2 victory and a split of its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference baseball doubleheader with host Chestnut Hill College on Wednesday evening at Latshaw-McCarthy Field. Chestnut Hill had earned a 5-3 win in the day's opening contest.
With its win in the nightcap, Felician strengthened its hold on first place in the CACC. The Golden Falcons (21-9, 12-2 CACC) are ranked No. 20 in the latest national NCAA Division II writers' poll and second regionally.
Felician erased a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the top of the third inning of Game 2, a scheduled seven-inning affair. The Golden Falcons put runners on the corners to start the frame, and a sacrifice fly by Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.) evened the score. After a stolen base and an error, Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J.) executed a squeeze bunt, scoring Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.) with the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Meneses capped the rally with a two-run double.
Junior left-hander Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y.) (4-2), who had surrendered single runs in each of the first two innings, made the lead stand up. Polgano worked through six innings, scattering six hits and five walks while striking out four batters. He picked off two runners, both in the fourth.
Meneses added a two-run single in the fifth inning. The Griffins received a RBI single from Eric Gilham (Deptford, N.J.) and brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Felician reliever Tanner DeLucia (Shillington, Pa.) recorded a strikeout to end the threat and the game. CHC left nine men on base in the contest.
Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and LaMura joined Meneses with two hits apiece. Junior first baseman Matthew Owens (Cherry Hill, N.J.) was 3 for 4 for the Griffins (15-10-1, 9-4).
Felician tallied three times in the top of the first inning of Game 1, using a LaMura two-run single and a Kleinstein RBI groundout. But the Golden Falcons had runners on second and third with one out and did not score again. They were shut out for the rest of the game, leaving a total of 12 men on base.
After CHC plated a run in the second when Owens scored on a wild pitch, the score held at 3-1 until the seventh. Owens reached Felician senior righty John Holland (Jackson, N.J.) (4-1) for a run-scoring single, advanced to third on a double, and scored the tying run on Joseph Monaghan's (Doylestown, Pa.) sacrifice fly.
After Felician had a runner caught stealing in the top of the eighth, the Griffins put runners on first and third with one out off of Holland in the home half. Holland came up with a strikeout, but Alec Craig (Hammonton, N.J.) then stole second base ahead of a go-ahead two run single by Gilham.
The Golden Falcons produced one last threat in the ninth. Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.) and Kleinstein singled with two outs off of CHC closer Dino Cattai (Philadelphia, Pa.), but Cattai recovered to induce a shallow fly ball to left field to tie for the CACC lead with his fifth save of the season.
Felician out-hit the Griffins, 11-7, but Chestnut Hill starter Patrick Kelley (Pipersville, Pa.) (2-3) weaved his way into and out of trouble for eight innings. He gave up nine hits, struck out four Golden Falcons and walked two. Holland ended up with an eight-inning complete game with five strikeouts and one walk.
Price went 4 for 5 and Diesel was 2 for 5 for Felician. CHC's Jon Baturgil (Freehold, N.J.) and Owens were each 2 for 3.
Felician plays a make-up CACC doubleheader at Concordia (N.Y.) College on Saturday at noon in Bronxville, N.Y.