Holland, Polgano Pitch No. 20 Baseball To Non-League Sweep Of Rams

Holland, Polgano Pitch No. 20 Baseball To Non-League Sweep Of Rams

LYNDHURST, N.J. – Felician University starting pitchers John Holland (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty) and Jason Polgano (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) combined to hold the normally-prolific Philadelphia University offense to no earned runs on five hits over 13 innings as the Golden Falcons won both ends of a non-conference baseball doubleheader from the visiting Rams, 3-0 and 7-2, on Tuesday afternoon at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex.

Senior right fielder Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J./Burlington Township) went 4 for 6 with three extra-base hits, four runs scored and three runs batted in on the day for Felician, ranked No. 20 in the most recent national NCAA Division II writers' poll and second regionally.

The teams were meeting for the second time this season. The Golden Falcons and Rams split a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference twinbill on Mar. 30 in Philadelphia. Both of Tuesday's contests were scheduled for seven innings in duration. Philadelphia entered the day with a .311 team batting average, second in the CACC only to Felician's .312, and with a league-best 47 home runs.

But in the opener, Holland (5-1) needed only 86 pitches (56 strikes) to author a two-hit shutout. He struck out eight Rams while walking one, and did not allow a runner to reach third base. The victory was the 19th of his Felician career, tying Jack Fowler (2012-15) for the all-time school record.

The Golden Falcons (25-9) first dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) tripled with one out, and scored almost immediately on a double by Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J./Colts Neck). The duo also figured in Felician's next run. Strickland led off the fourth with a double, was sacrificed to third by Kleinstein, and came home on a squeeze bunt by Polgano, starting as the first baseman.

Felician once again took advantage of the spacious Lyndhurst Rec outfield in the fifth, when Grant tripled with one out and was driven in by an Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) sacrifice fly.

The game lasted one hour, 25 minutes.

Felician staked junior left-hander Polgano (5-2) to a 5-0 lead after two-innings of the nightcap. Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J./Middlesex) grounded an RBI single through the middle in the first, and the Golden Falcons tallied four runs on four hits in the second, highlighted by Grant's two-run double.

The Rams plated two unearned runs in the fourth when a pop-up was dropped with two outs and the bases loaded. But that was the only blemish on Polgano's line. In six innings, he allowed no earned runs on three hits, struck out three batters and walked one. In the process, he surpassed the 100-career strikeout mark., the 14th Felician pitcher to do so. Graduate student Mike Gonzalez (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Pembroke Pines Charter) tossed a hitless seventh.

Polgano is the first player in Felician history to amass 100 or more pitching strikeouts and 100 or more base hits.

Grant had two doubles, drove in three runs and scored three to spearhead the Golden Falcons' 11-hit attack. Teammate J.R. Meneses (Lake Worth, Fla./Zion Lutheran) was 2 for 2 plus a hit batsman.

Leadoff man Richard Joa (Matawan, N.J./Matawan Regional) picked up a hit in each game for Philadelphia (14-23).

Felician's scheduled home game against Mercy College on Wednesday has been cancelled. The Golden Falcons are next in action on Friday in a noon doubleheader at Wilmington (Del.) University, again in non-league games against a CACC opponent.