MANCHESTER, N.H. – No. 5 seed Felician University was defeated by No. 4 seed LIU Post in opening round play of the 2017 NCAA Division II East Regional Baseball Championship tournament, hosted by Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday night at Penmen Field.
Felician drops to the loser's bracket of the seven-team, double-elimination event, where it receives a bye on Friday. The Golden Falcons return to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Manchester, when they will play an elimination game against either the University of New Haven or St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Thursday's game turned on a tiebreaking three-run home run by LIU Post junior center fielder Rob Andreoli (North Wantagh, N.Y.) in the bottom of the third inning. Felician junior right-hander Rob Naughton (Levittown, N.Y.) and three relievers were able to prevent the Pioneers from scoring again, but the Golden Falcons could not solve LIU Post hurler Jake DeCarli (Higganum, Conn.)
After Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) homered on the game's second pitch, Felician had trouble getting to DeCarli. The senior right-hander went the distance on a seven-hitter, with Felician not scoring again until J.R. Meneses' (Lake Worth, Fla.) groundout plated Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J.), who had doubled, in the ninth. DeCarli then induced a groundout to secure the victory.
DeCarli (9-1) struck out eight Golden Falcons and walked one, throwing 113 pitches (86 for strikes). Pioneer senior Kenny Daley (Glenwood Landing, N.Y.) evened the game with a long home run in the bottom of the first.
Felician put its first two runners on base in the fourth, but never moved them. The Golden Falcons never again had two men on in the same frame. Diesel and Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.) each went 2 for 4. Naughton (6-2) surrendered four runs on seven hits plus four walks in 5 1/3 frames.
Felician (33-13) has lost 4 of its last 5 contests.
LIU Post (31-18) advances to face top seed Southern New Hampshire on Friday.