Golden Falcons Bounce Back To Prey On Devils

Baseball fist-bump
(Photo by Dave Schofield.)

LYNDHURST, N.J. – Seniors Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) and Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) continued their assault on the Felician University baseball record books as the Golden Falcons split a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader with the visiting University of the Sciences on Friday at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex. USciences won Game 1, 6-2, before Felician bounced back for a 13-3 Game 2 triumph.

Strickland was 4 for 10 with three doubles and a home run for the day. In the process he ran his career total for base hits to 225, moving into a tie with Joe Petosa (2010-14) for Felician's all-time record. Diesel, meanwhile, went 3 for 4 with two triples in Game 2, and broke the Golden Falcon career record for three-baggers, also formerly held by Petosa. Diesel has 21 career triples, Petosa 19, and Strickland 18.

The nightcap was a scheduled-seven inning contest, and Felician (10-18, 8-4 CACC) scored in five of its six offensive frames, including multiple runs four times. The Golden Falcons led, 6-0, after four innings, with USciences stranding six baserunners to that point.

L.T. Struble (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) walked in front of Diesel triples in both the first and third stanzas. Diesel came home on a Rahul Prince (Pomona, N.Y./St. Joseph Regional [N.J.]) sacrifice fly to complete the first-inning scoring. Prince delivered an RBI single and Sean Downey (Eliazbeth, N.J./Elizabeth) a sacrifice fly in the third. Jason Aponte (Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge) came up with an RBI single in the fourth.

The Devils (5-12, 2-4) cut their deficit in half in the fifth. Collin Fabio (Gibbsboro, N.J./Eastern) and Tom Aaron (Pennsburg, Pa./Perkiomen) blasted RBI triples in the inning, with Aaron scoring on a single by Nick Amicon (Glenmoore, Pa./Downingtown East).

Felician, however put the game away with a four-spot in the home half of the fifth, highlighted by Strickland's inside-the-park home run. Strickland added a two-run double in his team's three-run sixth.

Sophomore Cristian Morales (Spring Valley, N.Y./St. Joseph Regional [N.J.]) (1-1), the second of six Golden Falcon pitchers to craft a four-hitter, was credited with his first collegiate victory. Felician picked up 12 hits and nine walks in the game. Diesel and Strickland drove in three runs apiece and Prince was 3 for 3 with a double and two RBI. Struble was 2 for 3 plus two walks and scored four runs.

USciences broke a 1-1 tie in Game 1 with four fifth-inning runs, and pitchers Kris Morgenweck (Estell Manor, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) (1-1) and Ryan Johnson (Mays Landing, N.J./Oakcrest) made the lead stand up. Felician freshman right-hander Michael Gutierrez (Garfield, N.J./Garfield) (1-3) struck out nine batters in five innings but took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and five walks.

With runners on first and second in the fifth, the Devils produced four consecutive two-out RBI singles, starting with a go-ahead one by Jordan Stennett (West Orange, N.J./West Orange). They had six of their 12 safeties for the game in that inning.

Morganweck worked through six innings and 112 pitches, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits, striking out seven batters while walking four. Johnson entered to start the seventh and tossed three scoreless frames for his first save of the season, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh.

Ryan Scholey (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) was 4 for 5 for the Devils. Strickland had two doubles and Price, who was 5 for 6 on the day, and Anthony Santoro (Freehold, N.J./St. John Vianney) also collected two hits apiece for Felician.

The Golden Falcons face a quick turnaround as they travel to Nyack College for a noon CACC doubleheader on Saturday in Pomona, N.Y.